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.
*Appologies for not having posted in so long. Summer travels have distracted me (very nicely!)
Frank Mason is something of a creative powerhouse. Now aged 87, he has had a remarkable career, putting his brush to almost any subject. From portraits of the great and the good, through still lives and landscapes, to vast neo-baroque religious compositions. A number of great commissions have given him the opportunity to really stretch his abilities. A commission in Venice resulted in him being rewarded with the Cross of Merit from the Order of Malta. All this work has been done with virtuosity.
He is known to many primarily as a teacher at the Art Students League of New York, where he has taught countless painters.
His work is very much in the baroque sensibility, with flare, dynamism and vibrancy. This big dramatic style can be a little overbearing, so it is his drawings that I personally find most interesting, though I encourage you to survey his great sprawling oeuvre.
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.
Tai-Shan Schierenberg’s monumental portraits with their thick juicy paint are hot business these days, selling almost before the final brushstroke is put down. Their appeal is easy enough to see, though perhaps only ‘in the flesh’ do they have their full impact. This, I think, is down to the fact that his work has such a fleshy quality about it.
Comparisons to Lucian Freud are inevitable, and he has been criticized for doing what Freud does, but simply scaled up. It’s pretty hard to deny the similarity, though there is a distinct atmosphere to Schierenberg’s work. They seem a bit more joyful, a bit less harsh in their representation. Personally, I think comparison to Freud can only be a good thing, and Schierenberg’s work does not suffer for lack of originality, as its sincerity seems perfectly clear.
Wordless Wednesday: ‘El Joven’