Click image below for more "still life"

Click image below for more "still life"
Francis Cunningham "Three Baldwin Apples" (1964) Oil on linen 5'' x 16''

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

John Leavey: History, Artist and Model (Subject)

Today Dick and I worked on the rest of the summer still life video and manged to finish it. It's ready for somewhat time consuming compression process to be viewed on YouTube in a few days.  It's just like "varnishing" a painting before getting it out to the world.
At one point Dick and I talked about the distance between the painter and his subject, which brought us to the recent studio visit of one of Dick's long time friends from the Art Students League, John Leavey, or as Dick calls him, Jack.

Jack attended the Art Students League, where Dick met him in Robert Beverly Hale's class. Later they went to Edwin Dickinson's class.   Jack won a Prix de Rome and spent seven years in Italy. At one point he painted stage sets.  He's painted and drawn continuously and now lives in Bennington, Vermont.
So, now you have an idea about Jack.

When at Dick's studio, Jack made this drawing of triangles about HISTORY, ARTIST and MODEL. I like how it illustrates the disappearance of distance between history and the artist. For simplification, I think we can assume that the distance between the artist and the model remains the same.

At the top Jacques-Louis David looks at a 50 year old male model while he paints a "historical" figure, such as a Roman soldier.  As painting in the 19th century moves towards realism, the line of the triangle illustrated here, between the artist and history, gets shorter and shorter.  Courbet (Realism), Manet, Degas and we wind up in Jack's diagram with Toulouse-Lautrec. Lautrec draws a 50 year old man who is no more or less, a 50 year old man.  In Jack diagram photography is a straight line between the artist and the model, as there is no longer history.  (We find this problematic.)

Now, the question is what is the distance between Dick and his new piece, he's just started, here at the map stage, or his subjects in general?

-perke and Dick

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