stark realities

Alex Kanevsky. I suppose I have a connection to this man in a way. Years ago, on one of my pilgrimages to New York, back when I was an illustrator I would go to the Society of Illustrators annual exhibit, afterward I would go to one of my favorite haunts, the Chelsea district. There are more galleries there than produce at SuperPublix... it's like the Matrix power grid of art. Just sizzlin, cracklin contemporary art and tons of it, some brilliant, a lot of it, not so much. I saw his work there. And I know real when I see it, at least for me. Admit it. You may be a died-in-the-wool realist who lives and breathes beauty but once in a while you see something that just boinks your head and gives you a 3 O'clock chocolate bar wake me up. Almost like a deviant thought you just know you shouldn't have, but there it is.

I don't know this guy, I haven't done my research, I'm not a smart art historian type person, I'm just a guy who has looked at probably a million pieces of art in my life. I've developed my taste buds. Yours, of course, are different and the why of that is worthy of deep discussion, it bridges into all things, but, anyhoos, I have my likes and dislikes. Onions I don't like, Alex Kanevsky I do. What tweaks me about this guy is his bridge from the known reality to his own, welcome to his world. I've gotten into more than one heated discussion about where the line is in art. There isn't one. There's one for you but it's not in the same place for others, so there isn't one.

Think about this; what serves as your barometer for good and bad? It's not an opinion built in a vacuum, it's the stuff you have come to know and love. It's the stuff you choose to expose yourself to. Fall in love with a genre and it tends to exclude most others unless they are analogous to that thing you respond to. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not pigeon-holing you, I don't know who reads this drivel, I'm just stating an observation based on years of observation.

So, what do I respond to with this guy? It's how he takes a reality and makes it his own. I respond to the people who do what I don't do as much as the ones who do what I do. You? His stark realities, his use of color, his intentionally lost and confounded edges that I could never do because they are too precious to me. Black. Who uses black? He does, Sargent did, Zorn did, and on a side note, Kanevsky's darks were glossy and his lights were flat, it was another level of surface I hadn't considered. Still not sure how he accomplished that.... perhaps a medium just for the darks.

as for the painting above, if you are a landscape painter, the left panel rocks but what's with the panel to the right? The two together jar the basic reality of what we know. I like that. I like the blurry line. If I have a point at all here it is simply to be open to the next level of painting and then to the level next to that, and the one next to that, there is no right or wrong, there is only different. If I were ever to post a list of artists that I admire, you might, after considering my body of work, say, what? But I like many things. I would be interested in hearing from you on who you look at that isn't quite in your district. Inquiring minds want to know.

Some day I'd like to make a flow chart of artists that shows a slow progression from traditional realism into abstraction. Each step being a slightly blurrier line from one to the next. It's on my list.

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