April 30, 2009

Fabulous Renaissance Paintings with a Modern Day Touch!

A friend who knows my taste in graphic art, digital art, vector art etc, turned me on to Scottish artist Alan MacDonald's website with the promise that I was going to love the man's work. She was 1000% right! I surf the net looking for this sort of thing! MacDonald's paintings blend the subject and style of the European Renaissance masters with modern day consumerism and pop culture. You will see many of his subjects drinking popular beverages, eating junk food and riding on scooters, etc. MacDonald also pairs his old Europe subjects with other out of place items such as fantasy box carts that look like they may have come from a century ago. This work is really genial!

"There is a cool, quiet elegance to Alan Macdonald's paintings, which belies the disequilibrium at their heart. His figures, grey eyed and dreaming, might be time travellers, drawing distant cousinship from the portraits of Rembrandt or Frans Hals. His bucolic northern landscapes lay claim to an equally venerable artistic heritage. But if an accretion of the art historical past informs his imagery, it is transposed into a world where confidence has been lost, where the spiritual beliefs and myths which once bound man to nature, and through nature, to the divine, fail to connect.

The otherworldly characters in his series of portrait heads have the look of forgotten pilgrims, bonneted and constrained by cords like the followers of some perverse form of Puritanism. Each is neatly titled according to a state of mind: hedonist, altruist, sadist. We read the titles and search their waxen features, hoping to discover their soul in the curl of a lip, or the tilt of a chin. Despite this attempt at self assertion the figures remain isolated, pinned down by their cords, as if by the codes and strictures of society.

These are beautiful paintings, all the more potent for their distilled sense of calm. Macdonald gives us no answers, but the questions he raises about the search for faith and identity in a difficult modern world touch a nerve, and in the faces of his pilgrims, we recognise ourselves."

Jane Burton

Alan MacDonald

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