Friday, May 29, 2009

Inspiring Artists at PAM - Review of Portland Art Museum, 2009

I've been to the Portland Art Museum countless times. I've toured the permanent collection so much, that I felt I must have seen everything they rotate by now. So, I almost didn't go while in the Rose City last week. But, I feel so at home in art museums that I decided to go - even if it would just be a quick whirl - with focus on the wonderful Gilkey Center (PAM's house for the most amazing collection of prints).
I skipped the Asian and the European Silver - and hit the 18th, 19th and early 20th century paintings. There I found new life in paintings I'd already seen - particularly this Julian Alden Weir - The Spreading Oak - it's huge 39 x 50 inches and has thick brushstokes, like rough chiseled wood. It's so natural and beautiful. It inspired me to work larger someday.

Julian Alden Weir- The Spreading Oak

I also enjoyed the Childe Hassam, Pissarro and another stunner by Julian Alden Weir. The Hassam reminds me I want to paint a landscape that feels like you're in it - with the ground below and the clouds above, not just in the distance. I get caught up looking so intently ahead, that I sometimes miss creating a space for viewers to dive into. The Pissarro had such lovely tonal control, although my scanner automatically dials up the contrast, so the effect I loved is missing in this scanned postcard. In the original painting, all the values were so compressed, so close, light, like it really looks outside. And finally the Ice Cutters by Weir is just great. so simple.

Childe Hassam
Camille Pissarro
Julian Alden Weir

PAM is set up like and Art History text, in times past I've skipped the Rome - Renaissance - Baroque - Romantic - Pre Impressionist Sections - and I really shouldn't have. Although the Rome - Renaissance - Baroque was boring, I loved their collection of paintings from the 18th and
19th Century. (I wish I'd have taken some photos, I couldn't find most of the ones I liked online) Anyway they have this gorgeous Corot. They also have an awful Bouguereau. I hate that guys work more every day. He sold his soul at the crossroads - for sure.

Jean Baptiste Camille Corot

My main goal was always to get to the Gilkey center - but it wasnt' to be, yet, I wound through the maze and found myself in the modernist side. Starting with the impressionists (where the Pissarro was) and moving up into post- impressionists, modernists, post modern and contemporary pieces. Now the contemporary section had some neat stuff - Fairfield Porter and my new favorite Horatio Torres (the pics shown are not the pieces at PAM - once again unable to find them on the web) - but I don't care to see anything involving a Television - hate that crap, and so much of their contemporary collection looked like mucous to me. A huge encaustic of snot, a huge painting of blood and puss. Disgusting. A huge painting of creepy naked women crawling around with goats head on. I wish I had photos of these to share as well. (with me pretending to vomit next to them). So, I'm an equal opportunity hater - I hate sappy, soulless Bouguereau and I hate goopy soulless apocalyptic sludge.

But I do like the Fairfield Porter - can't find the work from PAM, so here are some others that are good.

Fairfield Porter

Horatio Torres

Beth Van Hoesen

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