23 March 2005

Reflecting on Traditions of Plein-Air in Russia

It seems to me that relevance of impressionist and plein air art painting in Russia is at last being noticed.

February 2005 PLEIN AIR MAGAZINE (I recommend this magazine. Click on link above)
John Wurdeman was born into a family of artists in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1975. He began his undergraduate work as a painting major in The Maryland Institute, College of Art in 1991. In 1994, he transferred to the Surikov Institute in Moscow, where he completed his MFA in 1998. He teaches, paints and lives in the Republic of Georgia; and he exhibits throughout Europe and America.

I love this
It is important to note that the approach to portrait, still life and figure painting does not differ from that of plein-air painting. The purpose of all the studying and education is not to squeeze the life out of painting or to somehow enhance or improve upon nature; rather, it is to have more tools in one's tool box to explain in paint a deep and passionate of nature.

The more one learns how to the paint the simpler vision, like peeling away layers of extra baggage and preconceptions, one begins to arrive at a deep and personal encounter with creation.

This humble approach to plein-air allows the artist to study deeply and not look for an excuse in nature to express something that has more to do with the artist and drawing ability than something that transcends the person -- something not fleeting and passing but eternal beauty.

In Russia today, one seldom hears the concern "that has already been done before." Creativity is viewed less linearly in terms of and categories that art historians can organise comfortably. To capture light moving across the branches of a tree with authority is considered a difficult and admirable feat that can still contribute to an artist's aesthetic development.

It is not the outside form whether he or she paints with dots or geometric shapes, broadly or with much detail – that makes the artist unique. The importance is how sincerely and deeply the artist sees, how much ability (they have) to convey the experience. To seek exalted beauty with humility and to communicate it with awe have always been and always will be considered noble, for it is not dependent on the times one lives in.


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