Sunday, March 6, 2011

Le Retour, by Robert Katz

Robert Katz, is an artist who shows us that the age of French Impressionism is still very much alive and, he supports this belief with a formidable personal collection of galleries. Its no surprise that Robert should have studied art in Europe and brought his talents to Montreal.

Le Retour, was painted with oil and is 20"x 25" in size.

The work shows the imprint of his love of impressionism and I find myself thinking of the artists of Provence. His work is charged with light and heat.
He picks up the yellows of the earth in his clouds and this gives the viewer a feeling for the warmth and earthiness of summer. Notice how the buildings are all white and how he sprinkles his whites liberally into the trees and water and even into the people in the foreground.

I find myself thinking of how Van Gogh, enjoyed painting scenes of the daily lives of country villagers. Here we find a couple of men, tending to their boats. Note how most of Robert's boats are red - except for the dark foreground boat which anchors the tonal values of the scene between the light sky and its dominating dark tone. I am intrigued by how Robert arranges these boats, in a loose sort of circle around the river. This forces the eye to focus on the water. While you might say there is nothing there to see - that is exactly the point. There is nothing but his play of light colours. How many painters, ever think of painting a river with such light tones?

Now let's move into the second level.

The trees on the left, and the stream, block the eye, and we are left with a visual pathway over a bridge, into another great looping circle, and this area contains the suggestions of a village and human activity.

Many or even most artists, use a river as a visual pathway to lead towards his subject of interest. But, Robert's river crosses his canvas and his red boats on the opposite shore, seemingly block our visual journey.

What's this all about? Well, a quick visual trip into the heart of a painting where a subject sits awaiting our observation is the traditional fast route to paradise. There is no lazy way into this work. Lets follow the visual route he creates. There is the foreground with the men by their boats, then a little hop across the river takes us to the pathway of red boats along the shore, and there is the horizontal series of lines which take us to the horizon.
We effectively zigzag our way through the work.

What's this all about? I suggest to you that this effect enhances its pastoral quality. We weave our way through the scene and the time we take to see this work in detail - slows time down and gives it a sense of timelessness.

A fascinating work. No wonder Robert's impressionism is catching the attention of so many people.

To see more of Robert's works, please click here to be taken to his website.

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