So, as I sit here finishing up my coffee (always a sad moment), I’ve been pondering what to write about for today’s blog. I considered an updated photos blog, but realize I have already posted my final MFA work, and have been so focused on job-hunting that I’ve not done a whole lot of new work… sooooo, I figured I would implement “Friday Funsies!” For me, this will be a chance to reflect on an artist I appreciate and admire. The artist may be long gone, currently working, or quite up-and-coming. The opportunities are endless, but it’ll serve as a chance to share my inspirations, and what I like about their work!
If you know me at all, you won’t be surprised that my first “Featured Artist” is Salvador Dali… I’ve loved his work for as long as I can remember; the smooth blending techniques, bright colors, and abnormal juxtapositions that define Surrealism… I could go on!
Salvador Dali was a Spanish Surrealist painter, born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain. He studied in Madrid, and later came in contact with well-known artists like Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, and Joan Miro. These interactions are what led Dali to his first Surrealist phase, during which he produced “La Persistencia de la Memoria,” or The Persistence of Memory, one of Dali’s most famous works. In case you don’t know, this is the “melting clock” painting!
Surrealism is a movement in art that focuses heavily on the artist’s rendition of his or her subconscious mind. In the Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, written by Andre Breton, it is said that “the Surrealists sought to overthrow the oppressive rules of modern society by demolishing its backbone of rational thought. To do so, they attempted to tap into the “superior reality” of the subconscious mind.” Although many of the tenets of Surrealism were present in the former Dada movement, Surrealists claimed to use the disparate objects, experimentalism, and juxtapositions more intentionally, focusing on Freudian concepts of dreams. (more on Freud) “Breton defined Surrealism as “Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express…the actual functioning of thought…in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.”2” (MoMA)
My personal favorite part of Surrealism has always been the hyper-real landscape style, and the way the artists add totally unexpected, out-of-place objects that are so beautifully rendered, you can’t help but believe them. I suppose this sense of suspended disbelief is also what I love about theatre, fantasy novels, and movies… I never thought of it that way, but it does make perfect sense!
Salvador Dali certainly fits the Surrealist motto, as his paintings and life were heavily influenced by his parents and their relationship to their son. His mother was a devout Catholic, but his father a self-proclaimed atheist disciplinarian. One can only imagine the struggle a young artist may have faced, due to a potentially divisive parentage. Dali, the Surrealist that he was, used his experiences as fodder for his work, as many artists do. Many of the painter’s pieces have been analyzed through the Freudian lenses of dreams, subconscious, and unrestrained thought, all characteristic of Surrealism.
While I could go on and on about Surrealism and Dali, I won’t; here is a link that provides OODLES of information and is a very enjoyable read: http://thedali.org/timeline/. I highly recommend that you visit! Meanwhile, here are some of my favorites of Dali’s paintings:
Well, I do believe I’ve probably bored you all by now… but if not, I’ll be happy to share more information with you all! In fact, here is a link to a paper I wrote about Surrealism and the Femme Enfant… and seriously, get online and lose yourself in the amazingness of Dali and other Surrealist artists… in fact, I think next Friday will be another Surrealist!