Monday, November 08, 2010

Julian Schnabel

Ever since I visited Buffalo’s Albright Knox Gallery in 1998 and saw a giant “broken plate” painting by Julian Schnabel, I’ve been curious about him, and I really enjoyed his retrospective, which is on at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto until January 2, 2011.
His work won’t be to everyone’s taste because it’s so free and individualistic. Some of the paintings are 22 feet high, but whether large or small everything seems to be on a monumental scale. Schnabel says he was inspired to become an artist after seeing a Rembrandt. It was the glow emanating from the painting that inspired him, and now as a practicing artist, he says, “I know how to lean towards the light” (adding that while he always knows how to start a painting, he doesn’t know how he’s going to finish).
There are paintings done on giant tarpaulins and in the photo of Schnabel with two of his pieces (see above), the one on the right is painted on a sail he bought right off a guy’s boat on the Nile. To the left is a “Big Girl” painting, a rendition of a small picture he bought in a thrift shop, which is also on display at the gallery.
The curator also chose several portraits painted by Schnabel, including one of Gary Oldman as a matador and the twin daughters of Steve Nash, the basketball player. Schnabel describes the shiny finish he applied to their portraits as “liquid glass.” Obviously Carmi isn’t the only one crazy about resin!
Schnabel spends most of his time in his pajamas and slippers even when he’s going out for dinner or shooting one of his movies. I can totally relate to this habit because I’ve worn my nightgown to go shopping on several occasions, although I always wear a coat to cover it up.
You get the feeling that Schnabel really doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about his painting, and that’s very liberating and inspiring …to me at least. I came out of the show feeling that I’d never really let go in my own work because I’ve barely scratched the surface of who I am creatively. But instead of feeling overpowered by this insight, I felt energized to go deeper into my imagination and see what happens.

Below: Schnabel with two of his surfer paintings.

9 comments:

Irene said...

What an incredible post,thank you for sharing. I'm not sure I'll get out to see his exhibit, but that you. I think I may have been to Buffalo at that time as well. Why is it that galleries in other parts of the world are so special to us?

Karen Wallace said...

Great post. Warmly, karen

martha brown said...

I think that I'll go on Sunday. Thanks for the reminder, Susan!
(are you doing the Holly Jolly this year?)

Leslie Jane Moran said...

I'm not sure that I quite "get" Schnabel...but I'll have a peek if I ever get enough time to see the Maharajah exhibit. I don't use my membership as much as I should. Glad to have you back in the blogosphere!

Lisa PN said...

Susan,
Thanks for this post. Just the other day someone was telling me about him and that i should see the matador piece. I think the AGO is a pretty baby friendly place so i will venture there this week perhaps. Thanks for this lovely post, it inspires me as i am getting back to the studio!

La Dolce Vita said...

good for you, great insights revealed to you, to me this was a wonderful post about YOU!! xo

jc said...

What an insightful post Susan. Thanks for sharing.

Laura Haviland said...

What a very cool posting,Susan. Really out of the box cool..
Hey I am going to be teaching at Bizzy B's, in the new year.
I wanted to share this news with you,it happened because of your kindness..
Have a great day and love to hear from you.
Hugs,Laura. xoxx
littlesparklesblue@yahoo.ca

me again said...

Schnabel is not an artist that has been on my radar; I will definitely try to check out this exhibit. Thanks for sharing :-)