Helnwein one man show, 01. July 2004 - 01. August 2004
Gottfried Helnwein - A long Way to Tipperary
Irish and other Landscapes - Gottfried Helnwein at the Crawford Municipial Art Gallery in Cork
"...these photo-paintings appear even more real than a photograph: they are hyper-real, super-saturated depictions of the world that surrounds us, as we would like to see it. Helnwein’s landscapes offer us the world as we see it in our mind’s eye, our memories.
What is certain is that with these works Helnwein has raised the bar for artists to come with art that is groundbreaking in terms of scale, skill and vision. Painted mountains, fields and sky can never be the same again."
OUT OF THE APOCALYPSE INTO THE SUBLIME, -
bursting into Irish Landscape: Citizen Helnwein
Essay for the Exhibition-catalogue, The Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork Mic Moroney,
Helnwein's meticulous Irish landscapes, which are the cornerstone of this Crawford show, are unashamedly aesthetic: gorgeous confections of pure, delicious spectacle. The typically epic but not inhuman scale imitates the subject matter. The tonal realism will make people go "Wow, are they paintings?" - thanks to the photorealist finish which seems free of the foibles of the human hand. Helnwein works with very small brushes - highlighting and subtly magnifying here, muting colours or creating shadows there; pushing some paintings towards momentary sleights of impressionism; and others towards seamless, burnished hyperreality.
The bird's eye view suggests a kind of superhuman vision which can simultaneously take in the entire view with breath-taking clarity, like some bionic eagle.
The Crawford Municipal Art Gallery Cork, Ireland Peter Murray Chief Curator 01. July 2004
His paintings represent a fusion of historic and contemporary artistic practices, uniting the Romantic aesthetic of Caspar David Friedrich, the political radicalism of Viennese Actionists and the technical precision of the photorealists of the 1970’s. Although often based on photographs, or inspired by film stills, his paintings are built up in fine layers of traditional oil paint and represent a degree of technical accomplishment rarely seen in European academies. He uses this technical accomplishment and finesse to carry across the strong political message contained in his art.
The landscapes, and a cityscape of Vienna, presented in this exhibition draw these different threads together. Helnwein takes the panorama, that heroic nineteenth century attempt to contain all knowledge in a single image, and suborns the green hills of Ireland to his contemporary take on the imperial gaze. In like fashion he paints large vistas of the Arizona desert, a landscape so different from the lush Irish fields and yet also very connected, through emigration and through images in the films of John Ford, whose Irish sensibility helped shape the mythology of the American West. Many of Helnwein’s paintings are of interiors, dark and claustrophobic. These large panoramic landscapes are a relatively late development in his work and, while they eschew the narrative, they clearly reveal the visionary quality of his art.
...these photo-paintings appear even more real than a photograph: they are hyper-real, super-saturated depictions of the world that surrounds us, as we would like to see it. Helnwein’s landscapes offer us the world as we see it in our mind’s eye, our memories.
What is certain is that with these works Helnwein has raised the bar for artists to come with art that is groundbreaking in terms of scale, skill and vision. Painted mountains, fields and sky can never be the same again. ...
Visitors to Gottfried Helnwein's show of panoramic landscapes at the Crawford Municipial Gallery in Cork are having trouble deceiding either they are looking at paintings or photographs. Some are up to seven metres in length, by two metres wide:
a breathtaking, epic scale. They are extraordinarily beautiful, by any standards, and, yes, they are paintings.
The finish may be photorealist, but these are not direct transcriptions of what the camera lens sees; they are edited and informed by the artist's eye.
...the work is extremely ambitious, both in terms of scale and rendering - some paintings are seven metres long and all are so realistic that they are nearly indistinguishable from photographs.
Consequently they cannot fail but to strike a chord, as you marvel at the skill involved in creating such vivid and realistic landscape views. So much so that Fáilte Ireland is surely gaining free advertising, as many will be inspired to venture out and experience these places first hand.
Helnwein re-creates theses vistas using a composite of photographic sources which cram multiple focal points into a single view. The surfaces are absolutely flawless with practically no evidence of the artist's brushwork. Studying the surface is absorbing, as the viewer is immersed in the detail as much as seductive wider views of the vast, undulating topography.
Carrigaline Photographic Society Newsletter – Issue 19 01. September 2004
This exhibition by internationally renowned artist Gottfried Helnwein continues in the Crawford Art Gallery until September 4 th next. Helnwein bases himself between Co. Tipperary and Los Angeles and is exhibiting a number of large scale photorealist canvases depicting landscape. Perhaps more recognized as a painter of highly emotive portraits, this exhibition will reveal the influence of landscape throughout his career from the early Vienna cityscapes to the present series of Irish landscapes and recognizes the impact which the German romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) has had on Helnwein’s work. Born in Vienna in 1948, he is a formidable artist and his work has often been seen as controversial because it functions as moral probes.