19 May 2009

Robert Chunn

Robert Chunn posts his watercolors, oils, and drawings on his blog, “Alla Prima - Painting from Life in One Sitting”. Though all of his work is choice, I am going to focus on his still lifes. Here is an artist obviously seeking a simplicity and directness in his work. The twist is that he amplifies the challenge of his quest by painting compositions filled with a plethora of objects of varying shapes, colors, and sizes. These marvelously rich still lifes remind you of landscapes as much they do still life. Mr. Chunn reigns in his subject matter through straightforward execution and abstraction; toning down values and details while simplifying surfaces. However, he is not shy with his application of rich hues. This use of bold colors would not seem to fit the equation, but he makes it work. Mr. Chunn also places a quote with every image posted on his blog. That’s right, not just one or two quotes in the sidebar, but one with every post. I don’t know how he does it. Though an artist’s work might make you wonder about the influence of other artists, I am trying to avoid such analogies in these reviews. Just as one can hear Johann Sebastian Bach in just about every piece of music ever produced since that master’s passing; you may see influences of other painters, living or dead, on a current artist’s work. But just as I would avoid comparing Led Zeppelin or Beck to Bach, I will do my best to avoid such artistic comparisons here. As with most groups, current artists are the children of previous generations and like all offspring, must ultimately, for better or worse, stand on their own merits. Sorry for the diatribe – hey, I never said I was a good writer. Robert Chunn’s work stands admirably on its own merit, so stop reading this and go look at his wonderful work at www.alla-prima.blogspot.com. His blog’s “About Me” statement says it all: “Eat. Drink. Paint.” Well put.