surpassing reality…with contemporary classical realism

painters Tubes magazine
Gabriel Grun – a classical contemporary painter
“everything in painting has been done already, so why bother to paint at all.”

It is probably the ‘realist’ paintings of today that is easy to critic.  After all they’d say, what is the point of copying something in front of you, when we now have the digital camera? – To a large extent I can and do agree with that statement. What I think they missed is the point of the process of painting, one that changes the reality and why that entails a complex relationship that a painter has to develop along with the work. And not only from spending a great deal of time working on it per sé- but creating something that didn’t exist before. To understand that process fully one has to actually paint, not talk about, not write about, and certainly not curate, to gain a total understanding of why painters still paint, by hand and not by computer or instruct other people to do it for them. These  new artists of the late 20th century were impatient and young, they had no time to hone a skill or tap into a natural talent, let alone develop one or need a natural talent whatsoever, what was the point when the new Art Marketing machine would triumph over Art, they said, and they were right.

 “talent is not enough..” …was another banner held high by the supporting tribe of over valued culture writers at the time. The new young artists all succeeded, they all became rich beyond their dreams. They had titles and honours poured over them. They have since then, been elected into positions that were once held by Artists who, perhaps unlike them, actually deserved the accolades bestowed upon them. This was the art world environment that appalled me as a 47-year-old painter of over 20 years [in 1998] when I was given the task of seeking out other real-artists to participate in a special exhibition called Heart 2 Art – It was a project commission from the International Support Group in Sweden and the Swedish Government Estonian Trust Fund. The show was in benefit for the survivors and the families of them that perished in the Estonia Ferry disaster of 1994. It was the most important and difficult exhibition that I had ever agreed to be the lead Artist, designer and curator of. I was given the lead by the Anglo-Swedish Art Group W.O.R.K (Waxholm Organisation [for the] Reformerandet av Konst). It was a massive task and fortunately I was joined, by way of my invitation, by the late professor of Art and the Author of several renown modern art books, Nigel Whiteley (1953-2010).  A person who I had long admired and read avidly in the UK Art Review magazine for several years. Together, through many meetings and discussions, we managed to formulate a philosophical criteria to help find the artists who had the right ‘artistic ethics and morals’ for the job in hand. The philosophy was realised in over 5000 words by Nigel and published exclusively for the exhibition catalogue with the title: “Affirmative Art in a Disaffirmative Climate”

It was at this time and in this frame of mind that I discovered a painter in far away [from Sweden] Argentina called Gabriel Grun. He became one of 27 Artists selected from nine countries that was finally exhibited in the Heart 2 Art exhibition in 2002 in Stockholm. The show was an eclectic mix of mediums of visual art that was to demonstrate the altered realities of humankind. And Gabriel’s work was a part of the show that visualised the link with the past and a new-vision how that link can be interpreted for the future.  As the years have passed since 2002,  Gabriel has been recognised in Argentina as one of their finest ‘fine artists.’ His dedication to filling the gaps that he feels have been left by the renaissance artists has, to my mind, been an impressive voyage. Yet, beyond that he has also ‘tuned’ himself from the stubborn art student who walked away from a modern art establishments curriculum in Buenos Aires, to a husband and father and a more mature artist who has perfected his craft.

“the idea behind my work is to pick the thread of the long line of visual narrative I love and cherish and give body to certain paintings I perceive somehow to be missing, to constitute gaps that are to be filled, that Rafael or Van Der Weyden just did not have time to do.”

He is not alone in his pursuit of a classical perfection in a contemporary idiom. Many artists have gone before him. Dali is perhaps a reasonable example, as is Odd Nedrum (Norway) and there are more. Grun is however unique in the way he not only portrays realism, but also in the manner in which he does it. He has described this way of working as an alphabet, one that he has had to learn and continues to learn, but he then transcribes his own visions by reforming and inventing [visual] words using that alphabet and creating new narratives. He attempts (and succeeds in my opinion) of making an image that ‘sticks’ to your eye and your mind.  There is always the danger of making subjective judgements, especially where realistic paintings are concerned. As Gabriel says himself, some sort of anachronistic story telling is not his target to dynamic art creation. His art has a more direct desire, one of landing a punch packed with power. Some of his earlier works have a definite erotic tone, which could be the exuberance of youth and which, as he said recently to me, that in his current life he is not in sympathy with, nor feels that he needs to call upon, to give his work the emotional power or punch that he sought, when he was still a very young artist painting in Buenos Aires. I still keep in touch with Gabriel, and recently he told me that after a year or two or working on illustrating a book he is about to embark on a new series of paintings…I have to say I am excited to see what they will be…

©article written by Denis Taylor. Editor for painters TUBES magazine

©2015 – 2019 painters Tubes magazine all rights reserved

 

painters TUBES magazine
one of Gabriel Grun’s early paintings that featured in the Heart 2 Art exhibition in Stockholm 2002 -collection of Denis Taylor/painters Tubes magazine

 

UK’s leading Art Magazine – Now has an excellent Artists Gallery

 

TUBES ARTISTS GALLERY
CLICK HERE TO READ FREE ON LINE

issue number 11 is now on line to read free – this issue has two fantastic articles – Colin Taylor Part two of his wonderful 3-part essay on contemporary landscape and how to translate that popular genre into a vital and important work of art…part two discusses “what is seeing.” – The second article is about why the Transavantgarde, movement that started in 1979,  is still a relevant way to think about Art today and the choices a painter makes during the creative process. SPIKE & Friends – our old critically minded journalists, returns from their travels and talks to TUBES about space for painting exhibitions, or rather, the lack of it. And of course not forgetting about the brilliant 11 artists taking part in the first new Tubes Artists Gallery – A space thats just for painters.

don’t miss this great issue… click here

TUBES Artists Gallery – Click here to view

Helping artists in more ways than one

read all about the new Mersey Gateway Bridge painting project 2018.

In issue #8 of painters Tubes, we featured an artist who had submitted a number of works for consideration to be featured in the magazine. Most of the work were landscape paintings, and although they were excellent, they was not what TUBES were looking for, at the time. Landscape painting had been extensively covered in tubes issue #5. (click to read free on line)

The artist explained that the landscape work created were essential to help fund ongoing research with preparatory painting for a series of very large paintings, ones that took figurative painting into another direction and subject line that normal figure work, but it would be some time before they were fully resolved.

This special series of  paintings, (the artist explained), was connected with a specific investigation into human relationships through the eyes of another age. And how the myths related to our own time. Tubes Editor was quite taken by the paint application and the subject and arranged a personal visit to the artists studio. It was here that he viewed the full range of work and as a consequence featured the artist in issue #8.

btw: issue#8 alone has had an audience of over 9,000  (click here to read free on line )

Some time later, the artist, was  financing the large series of  work by trying hard to sell selling landscape painting, but one day was surprised by a visitor to the studio. The visitor explained that they were so impressed by the work (seen in painters Tubes magazine) that they wanted to provide funds for the artist, to assist in the creation and finishing off the series. The artist contacted Tubes and told the Editor of the news which “..was in most part, due to the article in painters Tubes magazine…”

For all of us at Tubes, that one story, makes the case for painters Tubes magazine as the most influential Art Magazine real and fills us with delight…. So to the artist in question, congratulations and hoping you paint many more great works of art…all the best from all of us at painters Tubes magazine.

contact the Editor at: tubes@telia.com if you have an interesting series of paintings you would like to discuss or a studio visit (live, or on line or via Skype or apple Face-Time)

©painters-tubes-magazine 2018

“defining the elemental” exhibition on show until 12th January 2019

Photograph below: Contemporary Artist, Denis Taylor in front of the installation at Crossley Gallery, Dean Clough, Halifax, UK 

Denis Taylor Artist and Writer. painters Tubes magazine
Denis Taylor with his work at Crossley Gallery, Dean Clough. Left: ‘Acid Trip’ (1985) Middle: ‘Life Began in Water’ (2018) Right: Cellular Abstraction (2014)

The exhibition “defining the elemental is an exhibition of painting in the UK. The ten artists participating are showing authentic work that covers contemporary landscape, portraits and new abstract painting. The extensive venue is the Crossley Gallery which is within the extremely large Dean Clough business  and culture complex in Halifax, West Yorkshire  ( for directions and information- please click here) The exhibition is currently on and is running through to 12th January 2019.

Many of the artists as renown throughout the North of England and beyond for their progressive, dynamic, semi-realist and abstract new work, such as, Denis Taylor, Ian Norris (see TUBES issue #1) and Jeanette Barnes along with major project painters such as Shaun Smyth (Mersey Gateway Bridge project-   see TUBES issue #8)   and original impasto styled (inspired by Kossoff/Auerbach) portraiture work  created by Richard Fitton (see TUBES issue #7)

The full Catalogue with examples of all the ten artists work, comments on their work and poetry that accompanies the paintings (written for the exhibition by David Traves) features in the exhibition  is available here: Defining the Elemental catalogue

You can also read a review of the exhibition in issue #10 of painters Tubes magazine  Please click here to go to the magazine

painters Tubes