Vincent's Yellow

a[n] [auto]biography and a love story.

Van Gogh Sculptures

This work of art  was recently brought to my attention, and I find it positively breath-taking. This is definitely my favorite artistic response to Vincent of anything I’ve seen, so I wanted to share these beautiful images with you.

Vincent, could you have imagined?

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Self-Portrait, 1889

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Self-Portrait (Dedicated to Paul Gauguin), 1888.

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I was forwarded a link to this blog which explained the work:

When asked about this project [John] Dean explained he originally set out to make a single monochrome bust. He says he was intrigued by an enigmatic self-portrait painted in Arles in September 1888 which Vincent intended to send to Paul Gauguin. ‘Van Gogh’s distinctive draughtsmanship and his technique of applying thick pigment to the canvas was almost sculptural. The image seemed to be yearning to be liberated from the two dimensional surface restraining it. I wanted to find out what might happen if it were released’ said Dean.

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Self-Portrait, 1888.

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Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat, 1887-1888.

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I have always found Vincent’s work sculptural, but these busts seem to heighten the intensity of his gaze — and certainly the fact that they are all life-sized would add a very unique element when standing in front of them. One of these busts has been incorporated into the London exhibit of his letters (click to see several wonderful scans of his letters, with sketches).

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Self-Portrait with Straw Hat, 1887.

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Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe, 1889.

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Even the artist’s expression seems  to divulge a kind of joyous marveling at the outcome of his work, as though he could never have dreamed the power of what he produced. From the same blog:

Once the head was made however, Dean knew that to complete it he had to incorporate the artist’s brush strokes and the striking use of colour, including yellow, turquoise and purple, from the original portrait. ‘It is unusual for a sculpture to be painted as the effect is generally merely decorative. In this case though, I realised the colours and brushwork had to be included as they were integral and essential to the work.’

I thoroughly enjoy the translation of Vincent’s impasto, or thickly laid paint, into the textural surface of these busts. I’m also a little envious of the idea of molding his face, digging my fingers into the crevices of his brushwork, and feeling and re-creating his rhythm and his facial features with my hands. It would be very close to sensation of touching his face, or perhaps touching his dream of his face…

Seeing this work reminded me of a dance I choreographed over a year ago now – it was an early experiment that proved pretty successful. One of my greatest desires with my theater piece is to translate the passion of Vincent’s methods, the speed and depth of his brushwork, the daring of his colors, into movement. As John Dean said, Vincent’s paint and images almost burst out of their frames; I think what makes people fall for Vincent’s work is that they reach toward the viewer, as opposed to other paintings that invite the viewer to look in, as though through a window. Just as Dean sought to liberate the images from their two dimensions, I seek to launch them out of their impassivity.

So today, I offer a look at one of my early forays into dances for Vincent. Three women and I worked collaboratively for three hours, and created this piece. I stayed on the outside so I could shape it, but I will be performing in my own play this summer. It was inspired by the last ten paintings Vincent created.

Reader, Vincent… enjoy. :)

(Oh, and I finished my second draft of my play last friday! Woohoo!)

Mon, February 22 2010 » Artists Inspired by Vincent, Personal, Theater piece, Video Entries

3 Responses

  1. Judy Veramendi March 7 2010 @ 12:42

    Inspiring to all of us!

  2. aeronautical engineering December 20 2010 @ 06:19

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  3. Teresa December 20 2010 @ 16:03

    Hi Aeronautical,

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