Friday, January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth Dead at 91

Well this is sad (says the man who has a Wyeth painting as an avatar on this and other sites). Wyeth is best remembered as the master of American pastoral, using egg tempera as a medium and this:

Most would be surprised that "Christina's World" is in the Museum of Modern Art. It isn't very modern, let alone contemporary. It is representational but not hyperreal or any other statement of the process of painting or art itself. It's even less a statement about Us (unlike, say American Gothic). But that's what Wyeth was: it was a documentary, not declaration.

Andrew Wyeth's work existed where words (often) fail... or they come so much of themselves that they obscure and confuse. If music criticism is like dancing about architecture, Wyeth's work shrugged off the vocal language and led us to think of the images, the space, the moments. Nature unfolds into its own structure; no need for us to walk out to the Rocky Mountains and place a billboard the obvious: SCENIC VISTA.

Wyeth's best contemporary wasn't a painter but the director, Terrence Malick. Days of Heaven, Badlands and the others all express the same sentiments. They work in a canvas as big as a sky and the sights they set out to capture... those are their camera obscura.

"If I never meet you in this life, let me feel the lack; a glance from your eyes, and my life will be yours.", SGT Welsh, The Thin Red Line

Wyeth will be missed.

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