Friday, December 07, 2012

Arty Farty Friday ~~ Michael Cheval - Illusion & Metaphor

In yesterday's post I included a couple of works by Michael Cheval. His paintings, discovered online during research, made me an instant fan. So - a little more about this fascinating artist.

Michael Cheval is the world’s leading artist specializing in Absurdist paintings, drawings and portraits. He defines "absurdity" as an inverted reality, a reverse side of logic. This doesn't come from dreams, or from the subconscious. It's more a game of imagination with carefully chosen connections to construct "a literary plot". Cheval’s paintings are "maps of his journey into illusion", often metaphorical. They require a certain level of knowledge and a sharp eye to translate often hidden allusions. These are not simply "pretty pictures!"

Michael Cheval was born in 1966 in Kotelnikovo, a small town in southern Russia. He grew up in an artistic family. His love of drawing was encouraged from early childhood by his father, a self-taught artist, and by his grandfather, Yuri Lipov, a professional artist and sculptor. His talents developed quickly and by three years old, he could already draw complex compositions.

He has lived, painted, and studied in Germany (where his love of history, literature and music further blossomed). There he led a rock 'n' roll band and for several years, composed songs, wrote poetry. Many of his paintings contain musical references.

Cheval later moved to a Turkmenistan city in the middle of the desert, near the Iranian border. Here he developed a deep interest in oriental philosophy. He began work as a professional artist. His decision to emigrate to the USA in 1997 brought a new beginning. Adding to his early inspirations drawn from Western culture, his own experience, philosophy and vision gathered from his time in the East, his work rapidly evolved and made its mark on the art world. His paintings these days command high prices, ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

The artist's own website has more information and lots of examples of his work.

I'm astrologically frustrated by not having Mr. Cheval's full birth data. All that's available is his place of birth and "1966", so a peek at his natal chart isn't possible. In 1966 Uranus and Pluto were conjoined in Virgo all year, with Neptune in Scorpio in sextile. That information alone sets a general background atmosphere of inventiveness, depth and incisive insight.

Trying to translate the symbolism in his paintings is mind-boggling at times. A few examples follow. One would have to be as well-versed and well-travelled as Mr. Cheval to catch every nuance! Titles, where available, offer clues.

Clicking on the images should bring up a slightly bigger version, to investigate important detail.

Practice of the Big Boom

Division of Prime Cause

The Truth is Always Inbetween

Official title is Lady of Hurricane. without knowing its title I saw it as Pandora opening her Box.....maybe that's the same thing!

Sunset Tango

Sounding Silence

Loquacious Blues (Many of his paintings have musical references.)

I want to go on, and on... but I'd be apprehended by copyright police - so, just one more:

Zenith of Time

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mike said...

Thanks for the Cheval enlightenment! Amazing enough that he can visualize these scenes, but he can actually materialize his visions on canvas. Incredibly creative fellow! I found his Facebook page...worth looking at...some additional work and insight...two videos of him and his self-described "absurdology".

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Yes, exactly! I find his combined talents (to put it crudely) bloody amazing, and all his paintings simply splendiferous.

Have taken a look at his FB page - will go see the videos later. Thanks for the heads up.