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’.
I haven’t posted a still life painter in ages for the simple reason that there are so many painters who seem to do identical, technically excellent, but unimaginative still lifes. Sadie J. Valerie’s experimentation with creating dynamic shapes (i use that word ‘dynamic’ begrudgingly as i hate it and read it far too often, though here it does seem applicable) and lyrical compositions are far more engaging. Certainly one to watch.
David Cobley is one of a number of painters who have made a successful transition from the world of illustration to that of fine art (that is to day, selling work in galleries, rather than painting commissions for print). This background in illustration has given him a rather extraordinary ability to shape-shift into any kind of painter. Style is to him, something that is taken on for the individual purposes of each piece.
Self portraits are often an area in which an artist can explore different ways of working, while demonstrating to prospective clients one’s ability to paint a solid portrait. Cobley’s self portraits, and paintings of himself in the studio, are perhaps the most interesting of his work, simply for the incredible breadth of styles Cobley has experimented with over the years. One thing that unites his work though, is a very intelligent approach to colour relationships, to give an energy and psychology to each painting.
Duane Keiser can probably be credited with starting, or at least being the catalyst for the massive number of painters who paint something small everyday and post the results on a blog. This ‘painting a day’ phenomenon has worked very well from a business point of view for Keiser. In fact, it has worked a great deal better than for most others. I guess this is due to the fact that it doesn’t come across as contrived, but a very genuine diligent study of what is around him.
These little paintings, mostly still life, are little gems of observational painting, completed to varying levels of finish. They show what I love most in contemporary art, which is a contemporary vision, executed with respect to the lessons found in great masters. His compositions and subject matter are very definitely modern, having the feel of something Keiser has chanced upon while wondering what to paint, rather than something set up to be studied.
This quality of the chance set up, gives them an interesting quality. Though not depicting movement of ethereal objects, one is aware that what is captured is something that was not there for long. They are snapshots of what is in Keiser’s field of vision.