In this story, I was attracted to the idea of pathways through paintings, music and writing, and wanted to bring these three arts together. It was a huge pleasure working with Roger Dean, who is a real gentleman. It was especially good to be the first to show a couple of his new paintings in public.
When I bought the Yes album “Relayer” as a teenager, I was more attracted to the art than the music. I thought it was wonderful and wanted to go into the world that Roger created. Album cover art was incredibly influential upon us. It’s a pity that the relationship between art and music that the album covers provided has mostly been reduced to the tiny images that accompany digital music, but nevertheless, covers like these have influenced generations of artists to produce the imaginative realist art we enjoy today. Other album covers that particularly influenced my interest in art were the Iron Maiden records, and covers designed by Hipgnosis, like Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.”
The article is a continuation of my previous story “The Money in Imagination.” Roger’s painting is an icon of imaginative realism and is destined to belong to a museum one day, where it will be venerated as one of the canonical images of this important strand of art history.
I’m an enthusiastic fan of imaginative realism, which I see as the art of our time without equal. I really enjoyed writing this story, especially chatting with Patrick Wilshire, who founded IX Arts with his wife Jeannie. IX Arts is responsible for the annual IX celebration of imaginative realism, the IX Gallery, museum exhibitions.
Imaginative realist paintings and sculptures are images of things that don’t exist, but they’re made so well that they convince you that they might. These are dreamy images of impossible landscapes, beautiful creatures, terrifying monsters. They combine science fiction, and epic fantasy with the great heritage of folk stories and fine art.
Watching recent auctions has convinced me that imaginative realist art is an excellent investment. Of course, this idea meets with gnashing of teeth and howling from the guardians of the old world of the 20th-century avant-garde, who complain about the erosion of their elitist positions in their polished kennels inside the ivory tower. Let them chew their furniture.
I was horrified when I heard that many US art museums were turning their backs on their community of workers during the coronavirus, especially their most vulnerable part-timers and freelance educators, even though some of them have gigantic endowments and spectacularly valued assets, and with directors earning salaries in the millions.
At precisely the same time, other, more honestly capitalist businesses were taking much better care of their employees.
It’s time American museums were more honest about what they are – treasure houses.
For years I’ve watched Steven DaLuz rightly gain a following for his sublime luminism. He makes ecstatic paintings that literally glow thanks to his clever practices of using metal leaf and chemical patination to produce shimmering effects. His paintings border on abstraction, but always keep a grip, however slight, upon the landscape. But I always wondered what gave his work its depth – why did they resonate so strongly with the ethereal, the mystical, and the transcendent?
I interviewed Steve twice for this profile piece, and he opened up about strange experiences in his studio that gave him certainty about the reality of the invisible, but real, multi-dimensional universe.
Adam Miller was stuck in Florence when Italy shut down because of the virus. I interviewed him as he looked over the shuttered city, and we spoke of his quest to understand the skill of Raphael and his admiration for the great painter.
I’m keeping a close eye on Adam’s work, because I think he’s one of the finest painters alive today. Watch this space – I’m writing an article about his new paintings for Fine Art Connoisseur’s winter edition.
I interviewed painter Eric Armusik about his series of paintings inspired by the Inferno, which he hopes to complete in time for the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death next year. The result was a gothic profile piece that I really enjoyed writing.
I reviewed the 13th National Exhibition of Fine Arts, at the National Art Museum, Beijing, which closed mid-January, just before the Covid-19 virus hit Wuhan. The show included many paintings of an impressively high standard, although the range of ideas was limited by the political nature of the exhibit.
Each piece carefully followed the government-sanctioned pathway to aesthetic purity in the heritage of socialist realism.
I wrote an article for the Martin Center for Academic Renewal about why art should matter more to conservatives. It got a mention on the National Review website.
From the article:
“What do conservatives want to conserve? Clearly, conservatives everywhere desire the preservation and maintenance of the good things belonging to their various cultures that have been passed down from previous generations to their present time. That desire also implies conservatives wish to continue their cultural inheritance by passing these benefits on to their children and future generations. That is why teaching culture at universities and schools is important to conservatives.”
“People who claim to be conservatives, but do not participate in the perpetuation of these good things are deluding themselves. Partisan and pedantic, they corrode the conservative image to the point of appearing philistine. That false presentation of conservatism harms its reputation.”
My article “Goddess in Oils” was published in the March / April 2020 issue of Fine Art Connoisseur describing two shows of new paintings created by the exemplary figurative artists, Nick Alm (b. 1985) and Brad Kunkle (b. 1978). Both clearly venerate women, who are at the heart of their painted universes, yet each has a unique approach to expressing that esteem.