Monday, September 29, 2014

Modern Art (pt. 15)

Andrew Wyeth painted similarly to the approach of Edward Hopper, but Wyeth's art falls under the category of Hard-Edge painting, which simplifies subject matter to limited shapes and colors, realistic or not, but outlines everything with detailed precision in order to encase or enclose objects more fully and completely.  Hard-Edge art took the "geometry" aspect of art and exaggerated it as an expression of art's perfect devotion to design.  Painters like Wyeth paid close attention to literal qualities, not just showing what things look like but capturing their essence with almost photo-realistic exactness.
In his painting Winter, 1946, the artist creates a starkly realistic scene to better convey, in graphic precision, the depth of a personal subject of poignant and emotional expressionism.  He painted it in 1946, a year after his father died in an automobile-train accident.  The scenery of the painting replicates in detail the hill near which his father died, an actual spot in Pennsylvania.  Here, on the other side of the hill, we see a solitary boy running away, trying to escape the scene.  The rigid, black bushes at the horizon on the left connote the presence of death on the opposite side of the hill, but also the way in which the hill itself looms over the boy suggests a foreboding power which is about engulf this helpless figure.  Whether representative of his father or death itself, the hill covers almost the entirety of the painting with a haunting, expressionless existence and surrounds the fleeing boy.  Although he runs, this still image freezes the boy forever (representative of the artist) within the scene.  The artist has created an inescapable cell in his painting which retains the expression of his unremitting, interminable emotion.

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