Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Inspiration: Edwin Holgate

Edwin Holgate, Suzy, 1921 (source)
Edwin Holgate, Portrait of a Woman, 1930, (source)
Edwin Holgate, Self Portrait, 1934 (source)
Edwin Holgate (1892-1977), was a Montrealer, and a member of the Beaver Hall group, he was a prolific painter of the human form. His works have that 1930's feel about them- solid figures, with a well defined physicality. His works aren't about light or colour or texture- though that's all there of course- they're about the human form, about making you feel the round heft of a forearm, the smooth plane of the cheek and nose.

His colour palette is so similar to Lilias Newton and Prudence Heward- that there is no doubt that they worked closely together- things like a favorite shade of plum or mustard rubbing off on each other. I love seeing that and seeing a bit behind the process, I like art the best when it reveals a bit about the artist. I think that anything made by hand should contain some sort of clue as to the personality of the maker, some memento that this was made by human hands.

My main dislike of renaissance art is that it's too smooth, too slick- it looks just like the image in the catalogue- there usually isn't a single brush hair to remind you that someone made this by hand. I think that's just a concern now- of course- in this day and age of manufacturing, Michelangelo wanted the image to look foreign as though it was it's own creation, made by nature, not by him. That was the ultimate coup, I guess.

Monday Inspiration 2014 is all about Canadian artists. Each Monday I'll pick a new one to profile- If you can think of any that you think I ought to look up- please let me know in the comments- I'd love to hear from you. You can find a list of the artists I've done so far here. 

1 comment:

  1. Such powerful images. His figures have such a strong presence.