After spending an afternoon at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, I knew I had to add Herzl Kashetsky to my list of New Brunswick artists. My parents have a couple of his works and I have always loved them. The first is a cityscape and the second is a sketch of his family that my parents got years ago for a song. I love the detail of them, the fact that the hand of the artist is so visible in the final work.
Much of his work is done is a magical realism style - an art movement within which everyday objects are depicted in an 'accurate' and intensely detailed way, which gives the objects new meaning and significance (so nothing to do with demon and warlocks...). Kashetsky himself wrote: "It is not the quality of realism one should look for in painting; but rather the qualities (of life) which the realism expresses."
His paintings of beach stones are incredible and I think of them every time I see a rocky beach like this.
Give us this day our Daily Bread, 2008. New Brunswick Art Bank.
Self-Portrait with Words, Private Collection.
Words in the Sky, Peter Buckland Gallery.
The amazing Glitter and Gloom exhibition of his sketchbooks at the Beaverbrook just blew me away - it was such an intimate glimpse into his mind and boundless creativity. As their exhibition description states:
Best known for his meticulous high realist paintings, [Kashetsky] is a voracious visual enquirer for whom drawing has always occupied a central part of his life and practice. A constant and prolific draughtsman, he has filled 119 sketchbooks with 7,036 drawings over a span of forty years. These works, which have never been exhibited in a public forum until now, are not preparations for paintings, and were not produced to meet specific commissions or the demands of the market, but constitute a personal visual diary. Chronicling the age-old theme of the transience of life, they offer various revealing insights into the artist’s inner experience from 1965 to 2010. As a form of raw witness and unmediated expression, the sketchbooks have provided him with a way of seeing and thinking, as well as with a therapeutic process for living in and responding to an uncertain world of both hope and despair, the glitter and gloom of the human condition.
Forgive me crappy iPhone photos (they are publishing a book this Fall which I will definitely be picking up, hopefully it has better quality images!). I was there for what seemed like eons looking at every little scrap, every note, every little bit. It brought to mind Da Vinci's many notebooks, and certainly both seem like people who cannot contain their creativity - it spills out in pages and pages of notes. One of Kashetsky's quotes from the show was "I am like a plant; my drawings, my paintings, are my leaves. The more leaves I produce, the more complete I am, though I shall never be, complete."
I love the quote above.
(It is possible that the reason I was there so long was that I was typing out quotes on my iPhone...)
Love the rearview mirror sketch...
And this one too!
And how cool is the image of the pencil drawing his self-portrait?
Herzl Kashetsky doesn't have a website or anything I can point you to - in fact finding information on him was a little tough! However, he just recently won the 2011 Strathbutler Award for excellence in visual art in New Brunswick, so there are a few good articles to be found, including this one and this one. But if you are near Fredericton between now and September 11, 2011, I urge you to take a look at the show, and keep your eyes peeled for the book.