Monday, September 23, 2013

Contemporary or Old School

Recently people have been asking "What's the difference between contemporary and traditional representative art?"  Or as my buddy calls it "old school".

I ran across this on Underpaintings today.

As many of you are probably aware, Arcadia Gallery in SoHo is no more.  This is not to say that it is gone completely;  it has instead changed its focus and its name.  Arcadia Gallery is now Arcadia Contemporary.

I would not go so far as to say this change has "upset" many people, but I will say that the change has made many people "concerned," including myself.  Arcadia has been a great place to see well-crafted representational work, in a city where the shocking, the grotesque, and the skill-less in art still rule - and still command top dollar.  Arcadia Gallery was an oasis, and when you tell wanderers in a desert that the oasis will be changing, there is bound to be some trepidation.

Henrik Uldalen
31 X 43 in.

Mary Jane Ansell
Girl in a Shako
oil on panel
12 X 17 in.

As part of this change at Arcadia, there are several artists who will no longer be exhibiting with the gallery.  Michael Klein amicably parted company with the gallery earlier this year, before any announcement of changes were made, and more recently it was released that Robert Liberace and Ron Hicks will also no longer be exhibiting there.  Dorian Vallejo, whose first solo show with Arcadia was set for this autumn, was also let go, just last month.  It is the gallery's view that these artists are, without doubt, extremely talented, but that their work is too much mired in the past, and not "forward-looking" enough.

You can look at the work of the departing artists to get a feel for what is said to be more traditional.  The tools and methods are the same.  Seems that contemporary has more to do with subject and how it is presented.  That may explain why fantasy painting is so popular in some galleries I visited in Quebec.

It will be interesting to see the wheel turn yet again.  Paint on.

1 comment: