18 August 2009

Seeing the Light

This was not my first visit to the Morris Museum of Art, but it was the first wherein I actually looked at all of the art. The Morris collects only Southern art, thus they have one of the largest (if not the largest) Southern art collections in the world.

During my first visit to the museum, I learned that the impressionist movement made its way to the American South in the late 1800s, and many impressionist works were created here. Of course, those works don’t all reside at the Morris, but several do.

Then, during this week’s visit, I discovered a style of painting that had somehow eluded me all these years: luminism. There’s a neo-impressionist version of luminism as well as an American version, the latter of which was an offshoot of the Hudson River School (also new to me). The American version focuses on the use of light in landscapes, specifically, while the neo-impressionist version focuses on light in general.

Since light is important in many (or all?) styles of painting, I was surprised to learn there’s a style that focuses specifically on light, and I love that it’s related to impressionism (i.e., emotion). I adore modern art, but impressionist art is possibly my favorite, and the dreamier it is, the better. I like expressionist art too, which is also about feeling, albeit with darker, more existentialist leanings. Impressionism’s pale pink lilies are expressionism’s shadowy trees full of secrets, and I like both depictions of life—the light and the dark.

So now I’m thinking there should be a modern style that blends expressionism, impressionism, and a bit of luminism. Light made brighter by shadow, and shadow made darker by light, but with edges more soft than stark. The film noir of painting, but lighter than Goya’s Peintures Noires. Does such a thing exist? If not, let the eximluminism movement begin.


Anonymous said...

Such a great post... you write so beautifully. Church's Tropics in the Morning is one of my favorite examples of luminism...


Vanessa said...

Wow that is surreal... It looks like actual light is coming out of the canvas.