Saturday, January 17, 2009

andrew wyeth dies at 91

one of the 20th century's most iconic artist has passed away at age 91. wyeth was noted for his bleak rural scenes of dilapidated structures and vast lonely expanses. he preferred autumn and winter landscapes, remarking that "something waits beneath it."
and something does. having grown up in the rural south, i can attest that there is something haunting about burnt umber fields and yellow grasses grown quiet beneath a gray sky. to look upon such things is like a whisper that passes your ears, far too faint to catch the meaning. it is a memory you can't quite remember and thus it is not just the land that is haunted, but you as well.
wyeth suffered the stings of the art community and often was lambasted as nothing more than a glorified illustrator. he was compared to hopper but suffered by the comparison. all i know is that i was introduced to wyeth in my high school art class and immediately fell in love with the isolation of his paintings. i enjoyed the mystery and raw boned beauty of such works as the helga series. though he denied that they ever had an affair, he must have loved her to paint her the way he did. and when i first saw the helga paintings in person, i loved her too.
so here is to andrew wyeth that stirred such emotional creativity in me that i went on to paint. because even though his images were so far removed from my own landscape, i could look at them and see the something waiting. thank you wyeth.

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