Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Edward Hopper at the National Gallery

Last week, prior to leaving for the Waterfowl Festival, I and friends in from Cincinnati drove into DC to see the Edward Hopper exhibit at the East Wing of the National Gallery as well as the Turner works in the main building. The Hopper exhibition, which runs through January 21, 2008 in Washington, DC, knocked my argyles off! I knew it would as I have admired his works since art school days. Seeing a large body of his works all together, oils, watercolors and etchings, really brought home the tremendous impact that his work had on many other artists of his time and after, not least of which yours truly.

I have just begun to leaf through the catalog from the exhibition and already am taken with Hopper's unique look at the world around him and especially the way he has used light and shadow in the vast majority of his work to convey a mood that is at once, almost surreal yet comforting at the same time. 'What I wanted to do', Hopper was quoted as saying in reference to his approach to his work, 'was to paint sunlight on the side of a house.' In this simple statement, Hopper summed up for me at any rate, what art sometimes comes down to; the way in which each individual artist chooses to focus their work, what gets their creative juices flowing and what sets the mood of a vast body of their output.

Hopper spotlighted the 'ordinary moment' as in the work, 'Chop Suey' from 1929. To me and any number of his critics, his work speaks of melancholy and being a rather melancholy person myself, I find it quite easy to relate.

I always come away from a visit to a museum or exhibition or even a large scale group art show, like the recently held Waterfowl Festival, invigorated, refreshed and filled with the joy of being an artist; being someone who, in some small way, can hope to tap the inspiration within and make it come to life in a work of art.

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