Thursday, April 15, 2010

Artistic Self-discovery

Untitled-5, pan pastel on gray matboard, Jan Blencowe copyright 2010

Untitled-6, charcoal on white matboard, Jan Blencowe, copyright 2010

On Tuesday I went to the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, CT with my friend Roxanne Steed. Of course we started on the fourth floor to see the Gainsborough's, Constable's and Turner's which is always a treat. We took a lunch break at Clair's CornerCopia Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant and did a little shopping at Ten Thousand Villages fair trade boutique, where I bought some great earrings and a birthday gift for my daughter, then we went back to the Yale Center to see the drawing exhibit.

The drawing exhibit far exceeded my expectations! Though I should not have been so surprised given my recently acquired desire to go back to drawing, my newly acquired fascination with working monochrome and the fact that exhibits at Yale are always of the highest caliber.

Plus, the exhibit Varieties of Romantic Experience: Drawings from the Collection of Charles Ryskamp focuses not on lovey-dovey romance but the Romantic Movement a part of visual, literary, philosophical and political history to which I feel especially connected.

The main characteristic of the Romantic Movement are as follows:

1). a closeness to nature
2). a love of folk culture
3). making of romantic love a law unto itself, transcending conventional morality
4). a greater freedom of expression in the arts
5). the pursuit of emotional rapture

With the possible exception of #3 I pretty much can embrace all these characteristics as part of my art. Though I will say that #3 can make for the basis of wonderful books and movies, like Jane Eyre, though Jane will not compromise her own morality and marry the already married Mr. Rochester even though he is estranged from his lunatic wife. Go read Jane Eyre again if you haven't for ages and ages. It's still as compelling as ever!

There's a nicely laid out, fairly concise article on Romanticism here if you'd like to delve a little deeper.

The funny thing is I would never have called myself a romantic, and yet when I look at my work and my inner self all of it corresponds to a romantic sensibility. Being an artist is to be on a journey of self-discovery. I've been exploring this notion of romanticism in my life and work for a number of years now and am always learning new things about myself that surprise me!

Here's a bit of a quote from

"The German poets and critics August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel first used the term 'Romanticism' to label a wider cultural movement. For the Schlegel brothers, it was a product of Christianity. The culture of the Middle Ages created a Romantic sensibility which differed from the Classical. Christian culture dealt with a struggle between the heavenly perfection and the human experience of inadequacy and guilt. This sense of struggle, and ever-present dark forces was allegedly present in Medieval culture"... read the whole article here

This may explain my own fascination with the Medieval Era! And of course my beloved Hudson River School was part of the Romantic Movement.

Why I am suddenly reverting back to drawing and monochrome work, something I merely tolerated in my freshman year studying art in college has yet to be unraveled, the journey of self-discovery continues!

1 comment:

AutumnLeaves said...

I don't know Jan. I maybe shouldn't say this, but there seems much more depth and emotions in your monochromatic pieces. I just dropped my jaw when seeing these latest two pieces this morning. Tempests in more ways than one and I am reveling in their sheer magnitude and beauty.