Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ken Christensen is a Wild Beast!

Impressionism Today! Feb. 20 - March 15, 2015
Opening reception - Friday, Feb. 20 at 5:30pm

The "wild beasts" were a group of French painters nicknamed the Fauves by an unsympathetic art critic in 1905 because of their bold use of color and wild brushstrokes. Despite the fact that Vincent Van Gogh had died over a decade earlier, in 1890, his use of color inspired the Fauves to explore the expressive possibilities of color over the realism of earlier Impressionists. Also influential was the influx of African artwork such as carved masks which artists admired as honest expressions of truth without the constraints of modern society.

One color tool of the Fauves was the use of complementary colors, pairs of colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel and together appear brighter: pairs such as red and green, orange and blue, yellow and purple. Christensen's paintings make fabulous use of complementary colors for heightened visual impact.

Arroyo Seco, Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches
In Arroyo Seco notice the prevalence of green and yellow in the bushes of the foreground which contrasts with the complementary reddish purples in the middle distance. The bright colors and enhanced vibrancy lends a playful air to the painting.

Spring Flowers on Carrizo Plain, Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches
In Spring Flowers on the Carrizo Plain, the field is predominately yellow punctuated by its complementary color, soft purple in the foreground bushes and a distant field. The purplish bushes are accented with pale blue brushstrokes, which are contrasted with areas of orange.

Blue Horse, Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches

The first thing one notices in the aptly titled Blue Horse, is the blue horse and the orange barn. Again, complementary colors. This painting is like a symphony of color playing a call and response with one another.  The orangey yellow of the distant hillside playing with other greens and yellows in the painting and contrasting with the lavender blue shadows on the road in the foreground. The placement of a blue horse is also symbolic of the Blue Rider art movement which followed the Fauves in the 1910s in Germany.


No comments:

Post a Comment