Back in the early 90’s, I was a young, impressionable artist and I am thankful I was exposed to some of the not-so-famous, but very successful artists via my first college professor, the late great, Clyde Fowler. I’ve compiled a short list of three of my favorite not-so-famous artists (in no particular order) whose work has stayed with me through the years and continues to be an influence everyday in the studio. So here we go:
- Paula Modersohn-Becker. A precursor to German Expressionism, Paula is known for her expressive, large paintings of rural women and children, as well as her self portraits. Born in Dresden, February 8, 1876 (hey, I was born in 1976, weird!) Modersohn-Becker, at age 20, attended a course by “Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen” where she focused on drawing nudes. She later took a painting class and became influenced by Cézzane and Gaugin. Her use of color and form was very avant-garde during her time without the sake of being different. Paula tragically died at the young age of 31, but she left an incredible mark on the art world.
- Fairfield Porter. Ah, Mr. Porter. The introvert’s answer to Edward Hopper. While Hopper focused on the ironic internal loneliness of living in a fast-paced and over-populated urban society, Fairfield’s deeply personal yet self-less portrait paintings of friends and family presented the external examination of loneliness. Porter loved the relationship between realism and abstraction. He felt that one could not exist with out the other. Fairfield painted in a representational style when Abstract Expressionism had taken over the art world. Although his style is representational, it is not with out its gestural and expressive strokes alongside abstract blocks of color which I have always found quite pleasing.
- Frank Auerbach. Auerbach was born in Germany in 1931. In 1931, he was sent to England as a refugee by his parents (whom he never saw again) and became a British citizen in 1947. Still keeping the paintbrushes wet at the ripe age of 85, Auerbach’s dismantled and reconstructed portraits are simply astounding. These highly textured works are expressionistic, but by definition his work is not considered Expressionism. Auerbach is not concerned with finding the visual equivalent to an emotional state, but rather recording the chaos of the world. Either way, I find his use of texture and color to be quite refreshing and inspiring.
oil on canvas
6 x 8 inches
available for purchase here.