Lately I have been looking at the work of the Danish artist, Per Kirkeby, a lot. He has never been on my radar of artists that I was particularly interested in. When my work started heading in a new direction, I suddenly was seeing many artists afresh. I unexpectedly rediscovered Per Kirkeby. It’s not that I want my work to look like his, it’s that I have a new understanding when I look at his paintings of what he is trying to do. His interest in expressing ideas about geology and nature are revealed in his painterly paintings regardless of whether they seem to be mostly abstract, or if there are representational elements or symbols present. He is interested in the structure of the work, building layer upon layer in his search, not afraid to change direction. It is this building process and history that I find makes the paintings very rich.
I watched a recent somber yet beautiful film about him called Man Falling which follows his struggles after a fall and brain injury. I also really want to watch the 1996 documentary Vinterbillede but haven’t figured out a way to watch it legitimately with English subtitles –so please let me know if you know where I can find it!
I bought a recent monograph of Kirkeby’s work and find that whenever I feel like I am getting stuck too much in a representational mode in my paintings–which is a subjective, intuitive feeling and changes from painting to painting–having a quick look at some of his paintings is a good reminder for me that I want to keep searching for something new.
Needless to say, my nice quiet woods scene that I wrote about last week is now a flood! And this little detail that I liked from the middle panel of the previous version is now history. Stay tuned…