Saturday, July 12, 2008

Judith Sowa: A Close Look at Vermeer

As part of our "Midsommer Montage", Three Graces is exhibiting a very special painting by Judith Sowa. A Close Look at Vermeer's Portrait of a Young Woman is grandiose in scale (the canvas measures 66" by 66") and sublime in its execution. The painting pays dual homage to 17th Century Dutch Painting Master Johannes Vermeer and Chuck Close, a leading figure in Contemporary Art since the 1970's.

Portrait of a Young Woman was painted by Jan Vermeer circa 1667, a curious, enigmatic portrait. "This painting-its context still mutual vulnerability and the viewer's look-seeks to convert unrest into trust, apprehension into reassurance, the desire for beauty and perfection into a loving acceptance of what is flawed." (excerpt taken from A Study of Vermeer by Edward A. Snow)

"American artist Chuck Close has been a leading figure in contemporary art since the early 1970s. Best known for the monumental heads he has painted in thousands of tiny airbrush bursts, thumbprints, or looping multi-color brushstrokes, Close has developed a formal analysis and methodological reconfiguration of the human face that have radically changed the definition of modern portraiture. Over the years, Close's works have evolved from harsh black-and-white images to colorful and brightly patterned canvases of an almost abstract painterliness." (Robert Storr, Curator Department of Painting and Sculpture, MoMA)

A Close Look at Vermeer's Portrait of a Young Girl is symbolic to me, as it represents what I love most about the artworld - the ongoing dialogue between past and present; a clever and contemporary expression of a timeless aesthetic.