Saturday, April 19, 2014

40 Days of Paintings - The Eidolon Series (Shane Wolf)

A few days ago, I wrote about Pietro Annigoni and his influence in 20th century realism.  Annigoni went on to become a master, and among his students were Nelson Shanks and Michael John Angel.  Angel went on to found Angel Academy of Art in Florence, and one of the Academy's students was Shane Wolf.  Today, for the last of the 40 Days of Paintings, I chose Wolf's "Eidolon Series", which is a series of extraordinary figure paintings that literally seems to intertwine the modern abstract with the classic realism comparable to the figure paintings of Renaissance Florence that we see in the paintings of Raphael or Michelangelo.  Although, Wolf's figure paintings appear much more natural. 
As you know, I'm not a fan of modern abstract painting, and I never will be.  But somehow, I think this works because the abstraction is serving a purpose in these paintings.  In classical literature, an eidolon refers to a sort of apparition or phantom image of a person.  And that is certainly the effect that Shane Wolf has created in this series.  We see areas of the figures that are only partially painted with a gesture or subtle suggestion.  The abstraction is not for abstraction's sake.
Apart from the narrative played out in the series, the execution of the paintings is simply amazing.  Wolf has a magnificent technique of highly finished figures with crisp hard edges and lifelike flesh tones and textures.  He is clearly a product of his training of one of the best Academies in Florence.  The anatomy is spot on, and he has a clear understanding of the foreshortening of perspective, which allows him to paint the figure in various poses from various angles.  The paintings also convey a wonderful sense of movement, which is another aspect that the abstraction contributes to. 
The Eidolon Series has a number of paintings in it, but I'll only be posting one here called "Thrust."  The rest are equally as great and mysterious, and can be found on his website

Thrust (The Eidolon Series)
oil on canvas

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