"Art Now and Then" does not mean art occasionally. It means art NOW as opposed to art THEN. It means art in 2020 as compared to art many years ago...sometimes many, many, MANY years ago. It is an attempt to make that art relevant now, letting artists back then speak to us now in the hope that we may better understand them, and in so doing, better understand ourselves and the art produced today.
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Monday, November 9, 2015
Times Square Lights, 2012, Jeremy Mann
Sometimes I get tired of writing about the old masters. Very often I discover in researching them that they are merely "old" rather than true masters. Moreover, I've delved into the various art eras and movements to the point I've gotten rather jaded. It's gotten so bad that I've even started forgetting which artists I've already covered. Today, for instance, twice I began researching an artist I'd already dealt with in some depth. I had all the images selected, edited, and the first paragraph written for the first one before I realized what I'd done. Not more than a few minutes later, I chose another artist, this time a present-day working artist only to realize I'd also covered that artist too. Undaunted, I found another whom, so far as I can tell, I've not written on before. In the past I've tended to avoid contemporary artists as much as anything simply because they're contemporary, even though I may, in fact, like their work very much. The other day, in researching an artist I stumbled upon a Website with nothing but contemporary artists from around the world, which so fascinated me I spent the next hour scrolling down what seemed like an endless array of mostly excellent work. I gradually came to the realization that I'd been unjustly giving present-day artist short shrift. Much of what I found was every bit as good, or better, than that produced by the "old masters." The San Francisco based painter, Jeremy Mann, is an excellent example of what I mean.
Jeremy Mann self-portraits (top) at work in his studio (bottom).
Although he seems to have found his heart in San Francisco, Jeremy Mann, like myself, is an Ohioan, born in Cleveland in 1979. Like myself, Jeremy got his start at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, sometime around the turn of the century (this century, that is). Unlike myself, he's still a young twerp of thirty-six (half my age). That's especially impressive when you look at his work such as Times Square Lights (top) from 2012, and see how far he's come as an artist in the relatively short time (about ten years) in which he's been painting professionally. I'm impressed.
The Artist's Studio, 2013, Jeremy Mann
Although Jeremy Mann also paints still-lifes and landscapes, the best of his work falls into two content areas, figures and cityscapes. Perhaps its a reflection of my advanced years, but I must confess, I tend to like his cityscape better than his nude and semi-nude female figures. That's not to say there's anything wrong with his beautiful, sexy, sensual, young ladies, which have many of the same painterly qualities as his shiny, wet, city streets, it's just that there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of other artists working today for which such exemplary examples of feminine pulchritude are also their stock in trade. Mann's ladies are rendered the equal of most, and better than many of the others. I was especially struck by The Artist's Studio (above) from 2013 both for its natural disarray and its organized composition (the model is quite nice too).
Market Street Steam Vents, 2012, Jeremy Mann
Farm in Winter, Jeremy Mann
As I've mentioned a few times before, my wife and I visited Jeremy Mann's picturesque San Francisco for a few days last spring (2014). I found the place enchanting. My wife hated it. She did all the driving. In general, as the old saying goes, it's a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there. Yet if Mann's many paintings of the city are any indication, I wouldn't mind spending some time painting there. I'm not sure if Mann's Market Street Steam Vents (above) is from San Francisco (many cities have Market Streets) but I can't help but think that his landscape, Farm in Winter (left) is a nostalgic bit of Ohio. Having lived here all my life, it looks all too familiar.
Hell's Kitchen (New York City, I presume), 2012, Jeremy Mann
Having graduated from Ohio University with a Cum Laude degree in Fine Art-Painting, Mann earned his Master’s Degree with Valedictorian honors at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Since then, the artist's work has attracted considerable attention in the art world. Enjoyed by both critics and collectors, Mann's work has also been featured on the cover of American Art Collector magazine. Like many of the old masters, Jeremy Mann paints on wood panels, though many of his painting tools would leave them mystified as he works with paddles and ink brayers, often staining the surface, or wiping away paint with solvents. Mann's Hell's Kitchen (above) from 2012, is one of my favorites, though I also find his The White Vanity (below) quite attractive for its broad, loose handling of paint and expressive color. (The girl is kinda cute too.)