|"Condition" oil 37.4" x 43.3"|
These portraits by the artist Gong Yuan make me think of Francis bacon with a better sense of humor. But where Francis Bacon plumbed the depths of pure dark emotionality, using the figure merely as a prop these are true portraits. Okay, maybe some of them or more caricature. But even so, they take caricature up to the level of high art. All of the disturbing and agonizingly recognizable qualities of real people are there lurking behind the chaos of gestural paint, but there is a tender, comic element as well. A lot of fine art tends to take things just a bit too seriously. And audiences buy into this. If it isn't horrible, dark, despairing, or at least shocking, then it must not be very important. Of course there's a whole school of artists out there, many of whom I've featured, who turn all that seriousness on it's head and trumpet the value of humor in art. But very rarely do you see both points of view so delicately balanced, so perfectly reflective of what it is to be a human being.
There's more work here:
And the artist has a website here:
but be forewarned, it's in Chinese and you may find it difficult to navigate.
(most of the work on the Saatchi site is untitled. No sizes given.)