ABSTRACT WORKS........It has been suggested that abstract painting has exhausted its ability to surprise, but not in Miha Murn’s case as he manages to produce a number of rhythmical, abstracted forms that offer plenty of surprises. He appreciates that representation only goes so far in attempting to understand the world in which we live, and he manages to engender an emotion and an immersive candour in this non-figurative work, which, on a theoretical level, bridges the great disjuncture that has often appeared difficult to connect, that between pure formalism and aesthetics. Murn is a prolific painter in a huge range of abstract styles, and these make up a large proportion of his oeuvre. He has a deep emotional attachment to his abstracts, and they are a dynamic expression of his artistic personality, and are also suggestive of a deeper connection with the spiritual and metaphysical world. As Benedetto Croce opined, ‘the work of art is the perfect analytico-synthetic process that takes place in the artist’s mind’, and through our own imaginative experience and objectified pleasure as viewers of his work, we have the opportunity of responding to this process by appreciating the creativity and meaning of Murn’s abstracts. We can then, in a sense, become re-creators of the artworks in our own minds, as opposed to simply being passive observers using art as entertainment. This is where we can ‘climb those cold white peaks of art’ in Clive Bell’s elegant phrase, through the potentiality of a transcendental experience.
MIXED DRAWINGS.......Murn’s sense of experimentation is one of the most exhilarating aspects of his entire approach, and his desire to work in all possible mediums is laudable, but by any standards his mixed drawing series is not a successful one. I know Murn understands that he is not the finished or complete artist (is anyone at this young age?), and he certainly appreciates that he must focus and refine, control and develop his art. Here I take as my inspiration Heinrich Wölfflin, whose great merit was to look at art with some understanding of the problems of the creator, rather than by simply examining the picture itself. Wölfflin attempted to appreciate the psychological conditions that were at play in the artists’ mind by the specific configuration and form in any given painting. With Murn, we can discern his desire to fulfil what he considers to be his artistic destiny as he grasps at everything and anything that excites and engages him, regardless of the level of quality or aesthetic satisfaction he manages to engender from his ideas. This excitement in the possibilities of art is one of the most thrilling aspects of a young man who has achieved, quite frankly, an astonishing range of successes in all of his non-art arenas. But these achievements have (I am sure only temporarily), clouded his judgement. However, this will clear, and the new more focussed range of artworks that Murn will undoubtedly produce will herald an incredibly exciting period in his artistic development, and I have no doubt that an artist of distinction will emerge.
ART COLLAGES.......These modernist styles are the inspiration for Miha Murn’s own authentic collages, but, although conventionally composed, Murn’s have a twist; whereas most collages created by twentieth century masters, such as Picasso and Braque for instance, have clean lines and delineated edges without the need for further painting, Murn’s are covered in paint, which he splatters and daubs over an otherwise complete creation. This is to be expected from a man driven by the aforementioned sense of Kuntswollen, where he simply can’t help himself from being fully involved with the process of creation, as he seeks a more direct and personal connection with this genre. This is a laudable standpoint, and is indicative of his avant-garde approach with his confrontational attitude to aesthetics, where he, again, discards traditional notions and stylistic modes of production, which is symbolic of his self-assurance and belief in his own importance as a creator. He regards this medium as a ‘field of opportunity’ as he produces something out of nothing, notwithstanding that these collages do not necessarily signify anything other than the artist’s desire to create interesting forms.
THE GREAT WALL COLLECTION......Centuries before the ideas of gender-bending sexuality were the zeitgeist, the Chinese were experimenting with modes of personal presentation. In Murn’s work, we note classic tropes from the Chinese opera in which both male and female characters’ faces are powder-coated white, with stark make-up for their accentuated rituals. Face painting is one of the most important aspects of the entire opera, as performers immerse themselves in their roles. Every colour has a semiotic role to play, as they denote an important character trait: red stands for bravery and fidelity, black for impatience, vulgarity, and rudeness, and white for cunning and treachery. Contemporaneously, many artists, and specifically photographers, have foregrounded these tropes in their work by focussing on their own modes of personal presentation, such as Andy Warhol, and activist photographer Nan Goldin. The latter is a perfect example, as she emphases the gender-bender sexuality of her subjects by centring the trans-sexual community, where all her subjects (take Goldin’s Paulette as an example) have assumed identities, markedly similar to those from Chinese Opera, which actually make them something of a cliché, but clichés work for the simple fact that there is some truth in them.
EARLY WORKS......From his earliest stage, Murn has been a gestural abstractionist, as opposed to a colour-field painter, (by which the artist seeks to control their palette to elicit a contemplative or emotional reaction in viewers). Murn’s gestural style can be noted in many works in which the hand of the artist is present and definable. Take Red Blood as an example, which is an early canvas oozing class and distinction, which has all the hallmarks of great abstraction; the energy that Murn manages to generate with his limited palette here is palpable. The fabulous colour contrasts exist in equilibrium to each other, exhibiting a creative tension and balance, with painting that is scuffed, dripped, hatched, and pasted, with seemingly hidden notations just out of reach. This is a hugely satisfying canvas on which Murn has exercised painterly control, as he seeks to tease out form from an unlikely allotropical ambiguity, in this case, densely applied impasto colours. We also note Blue Sea, where he exercises admirable restraint in successfully controlling his palette to two major colours with the addition of white. Here we can discern an evocation of the sea: the movement of the waves, and the indefinable energy of water in motion. These reductive canvasses are the most successful of the early works, and we can discern a depth in the marked surface of the pictures, suggestive of a style that has psychological reality in embodying Murn’s early state of mind and focus, which is allied to his formative draftsmanship.
Miha Murn is a multi-disciplinary artist, whose work bestrides the intersections of the analogue and digital world’s. He has given himself the task of producing artworks in seemingly all creative mediums, not just traditional painting and sculpture, but collage, assemblage, drawing, ready-mades, and photography. His work, like art history itself, then progresses onto the more contemporary scene of digital graphics, computer-generated imagery, and 3D inspired installations (all of Murn’s installations are angular, mechanistic, and beautifully crafted). The entirety of his oeuvre is a tribute to his inexhaustible creative imagination, and to his engagement with the contemporary world.
Considering his work as a totality, one can discern a high degree of intertextuality as Murn draws on anything and everything that excites him and that he finds relevant. To him, the world is a multifaceted, contradictory, and sometimes discombobulating place, and his art reflects the frenetic, dynamic, and colourful times in which we live. But his creative output also exemplifies the psychological engagement of an artist who is trying to make sense of our complex world where Artificial Intelligence and the digital sphere sometimes appears to be replacing human interactions. His cultural lineage is broad and wide, as he draws upon architecture, iconography, press cuttings, royalty, and the sometimes-kitsch fetishisation of consumer goods. Murn’s reference points have no restrictions and no bounds, and his work eliminates reason, judgement, and restraint, which are all discarded as he embraces the contemporary world in a whirl of dynamic colour, emotional response, and constructions of significant form. Miha Murn’s paintings are full of life, zest, and energy. Note the frenzied use and application of colour in his dynamic world where a free-for-all melee of screaming imagery jolts the senses. He vigorously deploys iconographic subject matter which imbue his canvasses with dramatic visions and vivid leitmotifs. These fall into one of two camps; either the purely abstract, or the more physiognomic fragmentation of corporeality in an avowedly synthetic cubist style. He clearly draws as much inspiration from Picasso as he does from Pollock. He is even chancing his arm as a photographer; and here we note his apprehension about the discombobulation we all sometimes feel in an urban environment which can be alienating. He reflects upon the social milieu of the city, and in his work there are mere indications of humanity, but ostensibly, we discern only oblique and obscure fragments of society and a sometimes bleak and dystopian aesthetic. I was taken by certain elements in his imagery that are sometimes reflected back through the prism of a window pane or mediated through glass.
If Miha Murn was not so infused with business success, and any number of high-level accomplishments outside the art world, he would no doubt be regarded as something of a flaneur, that highly observant urban wanderer, as he glides about the city rationalising, analysing, contextualising, representing, and philosophising about his place in the world, and what it means to be a human in the twenty first century. This is an artist who is grappling with the modern world in all its multi-faceted complexity, and one who draws inspiration from an incredible range of sources. But this is also an artist who yearns for an identity, a style, an aesthetic which can appreciably be acknowledged as his own. Until his style develops to this point, we have the unalloyed pleasure of enjoying his art works which burst out of the canvas with such incredible vigour, life and energy.
.....these new viewpoints are producing a ‘vista of possibilities’ with her transformations and fusions of human and mechanistic forms, as the work delves into thought-provoking nooks and crannies of physicality and psychology. By exploring these dark and disturbing aspects of their physical and psychic worlds the metaphysical artists of the time strove to understand and express the two aspects of reality: that day-to-day existence of which we are all aware, and the ‘spectral’ or metaphysical manifestation of their mindset. The objective was to reach that elusive second metaphysical state in their works where analysis of one’s own artistic experience required a disinterested or depersonalised attitude to ensure that mental data would not be clouded by irrelevant personal concerns, (I deal with this area in more detail later in this evaluation).
Flora Koszeghy is certainly not a teleological artist striving for that apotheosis of form, her art is about communicating a specific aesthetic and the desire to create imperfect forms: sometimes gritty, gnarly, disturbing, and amorphous forms. And her ideas are anything but harmonious; these are paintings that disquiet, that jar, that disturb, but most of all that make us think, particularly about the world around us and our place in it. Her images float on the border of unrecognisability, thus engaging the viewer in her created space. We try to process and understand her world, but perhaps the enigmatic nature of her oeuvre will never be fully understood. Koszeghy requires us to appreciate, above all else, ‘the thing in itself’’ - that essential reality that has a significance beyond its immediate appearance. One of the most persuasive aspects of her work is that it appears to be full of contradictions, the complexities of which always remove it from the realm of the quotidian and the everyday, and take it to a more transcendental space where we confront those dark, technical, and sometimes deeply sexual (never sensual) elements of her work.
Her subject matter is always focussed on the small details and the complex components that make up (perhaps) much larger systems, but her work is sometimes produced on a grand scale as she creates canvasses with an immensity of being. In terms of the actual physical presence of her work, questions of space, volume and scope are tackled with an almost spiritual zeal, as she connects issues of politics, theoretical practice, religion, and social dynamics. But even when she is working on a much smaller scale, her canvasses always have a dark and sometimes disturbing ‘hybridity’ about them, as she transgresses social mores to produce some fantastical paintings where her amorphous imagery takes us on a journey into her strange world of weird arrangements, structures and forms, where reality dissipates and metaphors that work on our imaginations gain traction.......
........established itself as the Art Fair to see and be seen for the locals, and an increasingly diverse and sophisticated regional audience. Philippines 2020 was very much in the contemporary biennial concept that ‘anything goes’. On show were sculptures, video work, mixed media compositions, performance art, crafts, art house cinema, lectures & talks, and, of course, a huge number of paintings. The hero of the day was clearly Sol LeWitt (Fig 1) whose mid to-late-twentieth century philosophising was a breakthrough in conceptual minimalism. The organisers drew considerable inspiration from LeWitt’s oeuvre, and his thoughts were conspicuously scrawled on the walls on each floor. However, this appeared to have little relevance to the overarching narrative of this mainly commercial show (where most of the best works had apparently been sold during the vernissage); perhaps the organisers lacked conviction and were seeking a grand philosophy to underpin their modus operandi?
For this catholically observant country, where religion plays a central role, the taint of personal or collective restraint and/or self-censorship was refreshingly absent. But themes of religiosity, devotion and sanctity were frequently played out in one form or another by many of the artistic practitioners present. But there were also many juxtapositions of the profound with the banal - highbrow conjoined with kitsch, as many artists took a postmodern approach to the interpretation and representation of their physical and phenomenological worlds. Indeed, a number of artists were conspicuously having fun and being playful – what a refreshing contrast from many a solipsistic Western artist taking themselves and their oeuvre too seriously. Now, easily distinguishable from the many art works of quality, intrigue, excellence in draftesmanship and/or technical skill were the bizarre......
......the Emirate which has been developed into a small oasis of culture on this barren foreshore. All good so far. However, upon entry the heart sinks when confronted with several blue canvasses from the execrable Cy Twombly. Yes, he may well be in the modern canon, but does that make him any good, and does he contribute anything to the development of art? Judge for yourselves. The temporary exhibition of globes 'Visions of the World' was an oh-so-classy and sumptuous display of huge interest and was an enthralling adventure down many avenues of scientific and artistic discovery and learning. ‘From One Louvre to Another’ successfully integrated stills juxtaposed with videos and gave an in-depth and colourful analysis of the original Louvre’s development.
The francophone influence here is everywhere, and that’s not surprising as they must have invested millions in this venture, so why not! But those crafty French have given some significant pieces but have been careful to keep their vast collection of the best work in Paris, and masterpieces from the canon are conspicuously absent. We note two small and undistinguished Claude’s, a couple from Vernet and a small sketch of Jacques-Louis David’s Oath of the Horatii, but why not the real masterpiece, even temporarily? Swaps and loans would be entirely appropriate for this type of institution. The museum’s apparent core-concept seems to be the establishing of a cultural dialogue between civilizations, and specifically, a reflection upon......
Below are selected examples of artist's biographies written by RBH. He is always happy to receive multifarious documents, scribbled notes, source material and any catalogue information that you care to provide, which he then develops into a coherent and logical artist biography with the correct hierarchy of information. He will always keep the nub and emphasis of the original documents received in crafting his biographies. These can then be used by the artist for other promotional purposes. Names here have been replaced with parentheses. Fees to produce these are kept at a very affordable level.
(.......) art education was in the West Country where he was awarded his fine art honours degree. He paints people in staged-looking situations and makes use of furniture, clothing and other props that provide a range of surfaces and textures. He will frequently insert animals or models of animals that have a historical relationship with humanity, and even insert himself into paintings, in reflections or as a spectator/voyeur; a creative device regularly used by Caravaggio, Velázquez and Rembrandt. The artist comments: ‘I explore compositions and imagery of the great European painters of the High Renaissance and Baroque periods. My aesthetic has been informed by research into the historical context and technique of these masters, yet in style is expressive of a contemporary sensibility and a playful enjoyment of the medium of paint’.
The starting point for a painting or series from (.......) usually originates from a simple desire to paint something he has seen like a sky, an interior, an item of clothing or a person who has sparked his imagination. After the initial inspiration he develops situations, relationships and anecdotes that enrich the narratives of the paintings and allow him to explore and articulate themes that are occupying his mind. A good example of this would be the ironic title Take Me I’m Yours from Squeeze, one of his favourite bands of the 1980’s, which contains the line that has always had resonance to him, ‘Forever there will be a Heaven in Your Kiss’. The identity numbers on the police helmets refer to Aphorism 341 - a paragraph by Nietzsche that introduces us to Eternal Recurrence, and 147 which is the highest score possible in a game of snooker.
(.......) comments that he is not particularly a political artist, but it is impossible to ignore today’s politics to which he responds creatively. The Ecstasy (St. Francis and the Angel) was modelled on the artist Madeleina Kay, an illustrator and political activist from Sheffield. She was the Young European of the Year 2018, who campaigned to promote the European Union and for the United Kingdom to remain a member. (.......) has held a residency at Nástupište gallery in Slovakia, and has had many solo and group exhibitions over the last few years including The Wilderness Haven at St. Pancras New Church, Twelve Months Notice at Access Space in Sheffield, and Emergence at the Riverside Kelham, Sheffield. He participated in the Let’s Talk About the Anthropocene group show at Brighton University. (.......) work is held in many private collections in London, Los Angeles and Washington. Sheffield
For self-taught Dutch artist (.......), the world is out of balance, which is evident in the human & environmental challenges with which we are currently faced. (.......) craves a world where compassion, intuition and harmony are the key elements for living. She feels her art is filled with hope and inspiration and this has the potential to positively change viewers to become aware of their own feelings and beliefs, making space for their own true self. (.......) Innertotem’ series came about through her desire to reconnect and to bring everyone closer to nature and by drawing on the vast potential of who we truly are. Her aims are to encourage and support people to reclaim their power, to overcome their limiting beliefs, and to discover their talents with the intention of moving toward a unique purpose in life. Only then, (.....) believes, will we authentically connect and create with each other, thus enabling us to inspire others and to share our gifts, which in turn has the power to impact humanity for the better. This insightful and intuitive attitude to the world is partly explained by the fact that she has lived in Asia with her two daughters on the beautiful ‘Island of Gods’ in Bali for more than 20 years. She speaks the Language of the West whilst simultaneously sensing the subtle unspoken energies of the East.
Unique to (.......) art is the mixing and matching of different styles, which at first glance may seem contentious, but upon closer examination one begins to appreciate that the paintings are a fantastic cornucopia of diverse humanistic, floral and animal motifs that flow with perfect balance to create a beautiful harmony of composition. The artist also loves to modify her palette and she sometimes allows a thicker, more impasto, style to dominate with the addition of hand-torn paper patterns and old street posters. The subtle detailing and harmonious colour combinations make her art nothing short of amazing to the viewer. As the artist herself says, ‘In my world, art bridges my inner source of wisdom and the outer world in which I live. My paintings are more than visual creations; they are a means of conveying energy and insight by triggering positive thoughts and emotions’. (.......) continues by suggesting that the canvass becomes a personal totem to one who chooses it; it empowers a deeper consideration into the essence of who we truly are, giving inspiration to our journey. Among her achievements, she is proud to have had one of her wildlife paintings signed by nature warrior and actor Leonardo DiCaprio......
(.......) was born in Germany from Greek parents. He grew up alternatively in Germany and Greece, but ultimately chose England to complete his Masters’ Degree in Art and Design. As well as an aspiring artist, he has been employed in business and digital marketing capacities, and is currently working as a motion graphic designer in London.
(.......) multi-cultural upbringing enabled him to develop his oeuvre in dark materialism, gender inequalities, and fear & uncertainty. His artistic inspiration comes from a world that appears to be in crisis, and his work is informed by the complexities of the human condition and its moral and emotional exigencies which are embodied in his dark and dystopian physiognomies. His human beings emerge through the movement of the body and their interaction with space; the bodies are naked, heightening their distance from socially constructed views of class, distinction, beauty, and sexuality. Rather than focusing on cognitive justifications and expressions, he follows human gestures, taking physical interactions as signs for meanings, emotions, and relations.
(.......) was born in Iran, and graduated from the Islamic Azad University in Tehran. From her early childhood she always had great curiosity to seek the truth, and it was during these formative years that (.......) also began to examine her own mindset in tandem with her studies of other human beings. The discipline of philosophy, as a path to personal enlightenment, was crucial to the artist discovering the obscure and lost pieces of her inner self and her unknown and uncontrollable dimensions. But more important than philosophy was art. Art has always been (.......) primary study inspiration and motivating factor, and her most important method of communicating with the world.
In the process of artistic creation, she also connects to her own true self; this perspective gives her a deeper and more transparent insight into the outside world and its concepts. These concepts are frequently humanistic in nature, such as anxiety, fear, turmoil, scepticism, distrust and helplessness; they have all informed her work, and they seem to (.......) to be the principal characteristics of our contemporary lives. Although sometimes we may be filled with anxiety and doubt, (.......) suggests that we have still a colourful and ornate world in which to socialise and to fill any ‘empty spaces’ in our souls. The artist suggests that ‘even in the moment we become immersed in ourselves, we are less familiar with ourselves’. On one level, (.......) believes that evasion and self-doubt deprive humans of their true identity, but on another level the battle between science, philosophy and religious beliefs has removed any form of ‘sanctuary’ that was once our ancestors’ legacy. (.......) artworks emerge from colours, disturbances and suspensions in her deepest inner layers to form raindrops of sharp abstract notions, as well as a touch of beautiful and subtle truth.