When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

Search for an Artist on this blog (or cut and paste from the list at the bottom of this page)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chester Arnold

"Cuttings"  74" x 87"  oil on linen  2012

"Small Time Operation"  46" x 56"  oil on linen  2012

"The Old Narcissus"  46" x 56"  oil on linen  2012
"60 years in the Forest"  72" x 60"  oil on linen  2012

"In the Midst of Everything"  46" x 56"  oil on linen  2013

"The Dump at Shit Creek"  18" x 22"  oil on linen  2012

When I first posted some paintings by Chester Arnold in August 2009 I admired his wit as well as his skill. But after revisiting his work recently he may be firmly ensconced among my very favorite contemporary painters. His paintings are narrative at their core, stories about human beings and the natural world they they inhabit, explore, occupy, and generally cover with debris. He relishes depicting the randomness and chaos inherent in both the natural world and the detritus of human activity. He observes one or the other, or more frequently frequently both at the same time, with genuine fascination. His portrayal of people and the messes they make is full of equal parts sympathy and disgust. These are not typical visual polemics on environmentalism. Judgment is there, to be sure, but it comes in the form of wry humor and wit, like Mark Twain piercing human foibles far better than more pompous social critics with precise and bemused observation. Arnold's vision of the natural world seems to stem in part from the romantic tradition of Caspar David Friedrich. In Freiderich's somber and serious work man is a tiny insignificant observer of the grand wonder of the world around him. In Arnold's world man is more of a clumsy oafish sort unaware and unheeding of his sublime surroundings. And yet we can't completely despise him. We empathize with his determination and grit even while shaking our heads at his folly. He is us after all.
You can see more work at the artist's website: www.chesterarnold.com
and at Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco

No comments:

Post a Comment