Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another (sorta) Mormon Artist I Love...

I first saw this artist at the Phoenix Art Museum, and I fell instantly in love. Since then, I've seen his work pop up all over the place. He's still alive and living in California. Last year some of his works auctioned for $300,000, $500,000, $1,000,000 and up to $1,700,000. It must be really gratifying to watch your art actually become so collectible while you are still alive. A lot of artists never live to see that. This is the piece I saw at the Phoenix Art Museum:

(unfortunately the image of the painting at Phoenix art Museum is strictly protected and this is the best I can do...the painting is far more impressive if you look here)

The thing I love about Thiebaud (pronounced TEE-BO), is his almost fetishistic way of painting the surface of food. Food becomes this kind of landscape, and his landscapes start to look like food. He has the eye of a graphic designer, but this sort of delicious rendering that betrays a certain glee or joyfullness that his perfect reproductions cannot be contained. You get the feeling he starts off doing a straight forward rendering of an object and part way in his desire to render perfectly gives way to his desire to play in the paint and his ability to portray anticipation. Desire in and of itself suddenly makes itself known in the midst of his styling, but he holds back, he doesn't allow himself over to it completely, so that it all walks this delicate balance which feel delicious and right on the precipice always.

I say Thiebaud is (sorta) Mormon because he was raised Mormon (born in Mesa AZ, spent his childhood in Southern Utah and Southern California) and spent most of his younger years actively Mormon, but is fairly inactive now. Though in interviews I read, as late as a few years ago, he still considered himself lucky to have been raised in the Mormon community and indicated he still had connection with the church, albeit sporadic. Somehow I think this helps his art. He indicated as much. I can see it there.

Enjoy some Thiebaud:

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