Monday, March 12, 2012

A Day with Max Ginsberg

Its hard to imagine and a great surprise to me that my introduction to Max Ginsberg's work first came when I was just eleven years of age. I remember gazing at the drama taking place on the front cover of this childrens novel by Mildred D. Taylor entitled Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry.

Yesterday I spent the day with Max as he gave a talk and painting demonstration at the Society of Illustrators in New York City.

Max is now 82 years of age and a contemporary of Harvey Dinnerstein whom I mentioned having the chance to meet with to talk to in a previous post. Max Ginsburg was one of America's foremost illustrators (1980-2004) and is one of the most respected and highly accomplished realist painters today. He has exhibited extensively throughout his career and recently received a retrospective at the Butler Institute of American Art.

When Max Ginsburg entered the art world in the 1960's, he was working in direct opposition to the period's minimalism and rejection of representational art. His work reflects and represents his immediate environment. He approaches his subjects sympathetically if in a somewhat unromantic manner, with his primary motivation being visual truth rather than idealization.
This idea really resonates with me as I feel that truth is ultimately the most important thing an artist can communicate. I don't mean that all work must tackle subjects of social injustice or contain the gritty realism of our post modern society but that each painting I create should be the truth at that moment. I have found this 'truth' when painting plein air in Ireland and out on the streets here or even when I composed my early figure in landscape work - that truth was there, present in my minds eye and surroundings and not choreographed or orchestrated.

It is that 'truth' that I hunt for before I tackle any subject, no matter how important or unimportant these subjects may or may not seem. That feeling of truth is the catalyst that propels me into a painting.

Max also spoke at length about 'the painting process' and ideas around painting during his portrait demonstration as well his processes during his years in illustration and the pit falls of using photography as well as how visual references can benefit the artist.

Above is a portrait he made of Donna - one of the models I have had the chance to work with during my time at the Arts League of New York.

Today I spent the day at New York's Largest Art Fair - The Armory Exhibition. It was an amazing and very inspirational experience. I will be trying to digest all I saw over the coming days.

Until my next post, which will contain more information on my coming New York Solo Exhibition, best wishes to all - Richard.

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