Thursday, 3 July 2014
Gothic Art in Spotlight: Paintings of Flowers and one Messiah
On this Gothic Art in Spotlight I am going to concentrate on recent acquaintances. This means I am going to write about three paintings which I saw this week in two art museums. The artists are not extremely gothic and many of their works could not be categorized as such but I did find these three paintings to my taste.
The firs exhibition I went was in The Gallen-Kallela's museum in the vicinity of Finlands capital. Gallen-Kallela is one of Finnish Art's Golden Age's masters and he has been also well known in the Europe during his time. He had an exhibition together with the famous Edvard Munch in Berlin 1895. The today's exhibition was too concentrating on Berlin and there were five current artists too. One of the painting met my criteria to be shown in this blog:
The artists name is Marcus Eek, he was born in Stockholm, Sweden but he has worked in Berlin a long time. The work's title was "From the Series Burning River", it is made 2014, oil on canvas. The feeling of that work is probably not so forthcoming in that small picture but the paint is slightly shimmering and the colors are from some angles more vivid and darker. It also intrigues my curiosity, why are this bluish flowers a part of the Series Burning river? There was another painting from the same seires too, it was more abstrac-looking and the main color was bright red, like lava.
I am not saying that this Marcus Eek's painting is "goth" but I do think this would look pretty awesome in a modern gothic home with possibly slight vibes to Asian art and aesthetics. You know, rather minimalist black decor with just a few rich details like this painting and some decorative pillows on a couch. That is the reason I introduced this painting, I would want it on my wall if I could afford it!
This painting of Eek is quite large and I believe that is one reason I found it beautiful and impressive. I did not get the measurements but it is at least two meters long and the texture is really rich. In real life one can easily see the 3D effect the oil paint makes on the canvas.
The same 3D is happening even more with the other art works I want to show you in this post. These are to be seen in the heart of the capital Helsinki, at Kunsthalle (An art hall) The artist is Heikki Marila. Marila's paintings are quite literally 3D. Chunks of paint are pushing out of the paintings! With the red and black combination and the earthly theme like flowers the paintings become very physical and to my eyes there is lurking a hint of grotesque.
These paintings were huge, like four meters long. They were massive and that way those red and plush flowers started to look like meat, hanging on the canvas. The whole room was full of them and the two in that picture above are called "Flowers XIX" And "Flowers XXVII". In this paintings one can find allusion to the still life paintings of 17th century so there is a strong reference to Baroque, which with it's excessive and dark artworks is close to the hearts of many goths. Marila's paintings are even a little edgier than the floral arrangements of 17th century, because the paintings are trashed and smudged, the flowers look like they are in the beginning of decay.
Marila had one more painting I kind of liked. "Christ I".
The measurements are 120cm x 100cm, the surface is rough, though not as scattered and scarred looking like on the flower paintings. The colors are strong and this painting is open to several interpretations. In the exhibition leaflet it was stressed that these paintings of Marila are ironic and the humor has a meaning.
I myself am not convinced that this would be the case with the paintings or even half of the paintings in the exhibition. If for example those "Flowers XIX" and "Flowers XXVII" are ironic, what is the target of irony? Is it the art history and still life paintings and if so, why? The same problem is with this "Christ I" the viewer has way too many options to interpret it "ironically" so basically the artwork itself does not necessarily have the quality of irony and satire. Is it ironic towards Christianity, or just the way Jesus Christ is depicted these days with lot less gore and suffering? Or is it like a caricature or smeared for fun saying all religions are stupid?
Visually I think this Christ is pleasant with it's oddities so the flower paintings but I don't think they have some huge social importance via irony. What do you think of all these paintings?