Travis Schlaht is an instructor at the Grand Central Academy, married to Kate Lehman, studied at Water Street Atelier and has a show coming up at John Pence Gallery, so as the ‘classical realism’ scene goes, he’s got the credentials. Oh and his paintings are pretty nice too.
I must admit, as far as subject matter goes, i’m not particularly excited. It’s his paint quality that fascinates me, his marks having their own independent interest, yet never disrupting the illusionism, always subservient to representation but present enought for one to enjoy the interaction between surface and subject. That may not be the most revolutionary thing ever, but I don’t mind at all, I’d rather quality and sincerity to ‘originality’.
A couple of years ago Frances Bell won the De Laszlo Prize for Best Portrait by an under 35 year old from the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. She’s a certainly a painter to keep one’s eye on.
She trained in Florence at Charles Cecil Studios where she has also taught sporadically. This training means a focus on painting from life ‘sight-size’ in the tradition of the great portrait portrait painters in Britain in the 18th century, such as Raeburn and Lawrence.
Howard J Morgan is often called a portrait painter, being a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and having completed commissions of numerous noteworthy figures. However, his work is a great deal more varied than the title might suggest, and even his portrait work has the appearence of the artist painting a person that interests him, rather than creating a happy likeness on demand.
A certain adeptness in the way he controls thick juicy wiggles of paint to create clear lively forms makes one think of something between Hals, Sargent and De Laszlo but with such a contemporary spirit. Images of parties, hippies, beaches and strange semi-magical scenes make up much of his work
Unfortunately his website is woefully inadequate if one wants to look at images of his work bigger than a credit card, so one has to search around the web. Really though, seeing his work ‘in the flesh’ so to speak, is the only decent way to see his work. Smallish exhibitions happen occasionally, and his work crops up in group exhibitions every now and then.
Alison Lambert creates large oversized drawings of heads in a technique fairly unique to herself. Drawings are created, torn, covered, redrawn, pasted over, redrawn until a very compelling palimpsest of hours and hours of drawing is formed.
The resulting work is powerful, raw and has a psychological impact that comes from a wonderfully paradoxical mix of both frailty and brutality.
Her work has improved over the years, becoming increasingly sophisticated, showing depth beyond simply an interesting technique. My fear is that she will repeat herself ad nauseam.
Adrian Gottlieb’s work shows the effect of his training in Florence under both Charles Cecil and Daniel Graves. The emphasis on on light effect through a deep chiaroscuro, built on solid drawing, give a strong naturalistic result. A very limited colour palette keeps the emphasis on tonal relationships.
Gottlieb is clearly a man who has set out to master his craft, to become a true draughtsman. And his dedication shows. I will be interested to see where his work leads in years to come.
Wordless Wednesday: Rupert Alexander
Kate Lehman teaches alongside Jacob Collins, Michael Grimaldi and Dan Thompson. With those big names of the contemporary realist scene, Lehman really holds her own. Many who train in the way she has, become slightly inferior imitators of their instructors, but she displays what can and should be done with all that learning. She has taken on all the solid foundation of those schools, but remains her own artist.
Her work shows no formula, but rather an approach. She observes nature with a highly trained eye and from that creates an image. The image is her own creation. That is not to say she takes a loose interpretation of nature, but that she remains the artist, making creative decisions, enhancements and omissions.
I find Kate Lehman’s work encouraging in many ways. It shows that there are artists who are creative with what they’ve learned, without being dogmatically “new” or avant-garde, or dogmatically sticking to what they were taught. It appears very natural, the way her work has developed, rather than a forced manner. She paints a wide range of subjects, not limiting herself to one area as so many do when they arrive at a new style of their own. It will be interesting to see what direction her work takes next.
Kate Lehman’s Website
Where to begin on Jeremy Lipking? This thirty-something has a whirlwind of excitement around him, with countless people trying to imitate everything about him down to his manner of painting a signature. His work is being snapped up left right and centre and he is in demand as a teacher. What is it about his paintings that appeals, and I must say that they do have a particular appeal about them.
His subject matter is varied. In fact, he seems to be able to put his hand to just about anything: figure; still life; landscape. What makes seperates him from countless people working in a similar vein is a rock solid control of values. Lipking picks up on the very subtle nuances of colour and value and puts them on canvas with such confident fluid strokes that one can only admire. His colour choices have a conscious impact on the feeling of the paintings. Conceptually, and as far as subject matter is concerned, Lipking’s work is not particularly challenging but when paintings have such strong aesthetic appeal, I end up thinking like Whistler when he said :
“Art should be independent of all clap-trap – should stand alone, and appeal to the artistic sense of eye or ear, without confounding this with emotions entirely foreign to it, as devotion, pity, love, patriotism and the like.”
If it’s beautiful, why not? Has beauty not a value in and of itself after all?
Jeremy Lipking’s website