Six Good Paintings

Ivar Zeile of Denver’s Plus Gallery wrote in to tell me that I have a narrow mind for failing to confuse expensive garbage with art. I thought I would take this opportunity to indicate just how narrow-minded I am when it comes to art. My view of art is so narrow, and my view of good art narrower still, that I think most of what falls under the misnomers of “abstract” or “conceptual” isn’t even art, and I am drawn only to a small portion of real art works.

Here I will mention only two artists that I’ve recently discovered through Art Renewal.

Donato Giancola often paints things like book covers and trading cards in the science-fiction and fantasy genres. But his best work rises above such limitations. I love his “Mystic and Rider” and “Ashling” (both of which appeared on book covers). His playful “Museum” also merits attention. “Cartographer” is a fantastic portrait, though I find the flowing maps a bit overbearing.

One thing I like about Giancola is that he is unapologetically a commercial painter. He prices his prints to sell to the general public (and indeed I purchased two). While some of his works are too tied to some particular backstory to be of general artistic interest (including his portrait of Superman), his best paintings break all such ties.

Duffy Sheridan is perhaps the better technical artist, but his work is less accessible (literally, not as art). I asked whether prints of one of his paintings are available; I was told they weren’t because of the rough economy (which struck me as a peculiar answer to economic trouble). Nevertheless, I adore his “Confidant.” It is beautifully, vividly painted (though I doubt I’ll ever get the chance to see the original). And the expression it captures! Take a look also at Sheridan’s “Trust.”

What the hell — I’ll brake out of my narrow artistic confines and add a seventh painting that I’ve long admired: Michael Newberry’s “Denouement,” perhaps the finest expression of romantic love ever to grace a canvas.

While these are only a few of the works of art that I love, I do want to emphasize just how extremely narrowly I direct my artistic adoration. My contempt for faux art ranges rather more broadly.

3 thoughts on “Six Good Paintings”

  1. I suspect you may also be familiar with the artists who display at the Quent Cordair Fine Arts gallery.

    I am especially impressed by the technique of Han Wu Shen. Although his themes are arguably more mundane than those of some of the other artists, the detail and clarity he brings to his paintings, including human expressions, is impressive.

  2. I admit that I enjoy contemporary abstract art, the wackier the better and I even like National Velvet. However, I hate the government using tax funds to purchase it, and will stand against it every single time. I am sure that a guy like Zeile would not like me anymore than he likes you (even though we might share a similar taste in art).

  3. Ari, thanks to this post, I have since purchased a giclĂ©e of Giancoli’s “Cartographer” and now I just need to scrape together enough $$ to frame it (which costs an arm and a leg).

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