Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Van Gogh in Ottawa III

After almost 2 years in paris Vincent headed south at then end of February 1888.  He ended up in Arles.  Province.  There he found the light bright, intense, and clear.  Perfect for continuing his explorations begun in Paris.  And a chance to get away from the action and the influence of so many avant-garde artists.  Yet he stayed in touch to keep abreast of the latest trends and find his own niche by comparison.  Unique.  His admiration for things Japanese continued and he emphasized its modern quality along with his Impressionist influences and his own drive to be unique.

Amongst the most obvious devices he used were a high horizon, focus in both the detailed foreground and the distance, tilted planes for flattening the perspective and bring the foreground into focus, the use of tree trunks to both flatten and provide up close vs far away tension.  Then there was his brushwork and the basic lack of shadow.  These made the works more decorative in nature.  Today the approach is know as local tone painting.

Irises Front, Arles Back

The detail in the front carefully balanced with the town in back creating tension.  Notice the diagonals used to infer depth in the flattened image.  Such detail was the result of studies of simple motifs such as a clump of grass.

Clump of Grass

And from still life work.

Light on Light

Cropped and up close compared to standard still life of the era.

Very Japanese wood block like

Wheat Fields with Diagonal

The Sower

Wheat Field with Sheave of Wheat

Arles Hospital 1889

Here tree trunks are used.  Still most of the tree is shown.  Seems like two views at once, on from high above and one from lower down.

Notice the continuous development of his use of colour and his brush stroke.

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