About The Artist

My photo
Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Hello! I am a fine arts painter, with a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My primary painting medium is oil and alkyd, and mostly I work in a representational style. My greatest challenge as a painter is to capture the effect of light; and my greatest joy as a painter is to accomplish that. Many thanks to those readers who have been following this blog since Day 1 (May 19, 2008). To those who are visiting for the first time today...Welcome, and thanks for dropping by!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hello, Dali!

Girl's Back, 1926

by Salvador Dali
Collection of The Dali Museum

St. Petersburg, FL


As mentioned in my last blog, my sister and I drove over to St. Petersburg on Friday to visit the Salvador Dali Museum to see the work of this famous Surrealist artist, born 1904, died 1989.

The museum building is a rather modest "modern" concrete structure. (I guess I was expecting something more "Dali-esque."). However, the exhibit, "Women: Dali's View" was quite interesting and educational. The exhibit consisted of 96 artworks, organized chronologically and accompanied by helpful narrative descriptions.

I was keen on seeing Dali's early student work and was not disappointed. The first artwork on display was a fairly accomplished, colorful pastel drawing of a street scene at night created by Dali at age 10! Sketchbook pages filled with figures and fantastic creatures from Dali's young teenage years already evidence his drawing and imaginative skills.

There was a large landscape painting with forms and colors obviously influenced by Cezanne, done while Dali attended the Academy of Art in Madrid, along with other paintings showing his knowledge of Classical Art, the Impressionists, Post Impressionists, and Picasso. My favorite painting from his early work was Girl's Back, 1926, (shown above) depicting Dali's sister as viewed from behind—her dark hair, shoulders, and upper back, bathed in a golden light. The detail in the hair is stunning!

Dali was a consummate draftsman, and his drawings are incredible. His ability to render light, color, and mood is indeed phenomenal. The scale of his work varies from very small paintings—almost precious in size—to huge canvases nearly 20 feet in height. He could manipulate forms into visual "play" where, within a group of forms, another image can be seen. He called this visual transformation "critical paranoia." He developed a language of visual symbols imbued with personal meaning which he employed like a musical refrain in many of his works.

I was very impressed with the scope of imagination and complexity in Dali's imagery. I also found many of his Surrealist era paintings to be scary, where flesh is painfully distorted and raw bone exposed. Then, too, his erotic preoccupations and portrayal of woman as femme fatale at times seem neurotic, blatant, and voyeuristic, even for Freudian times.

Still, it was well worth the $15 admission fee and 90 minute drive to see the exhibit. Oh, and the gift shop was cool, too (although a bit pricey).

Have a good day. See you Wednesday.
Text ©Carol L Adamec. All rights reserved.

No comments: