Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Figure and Color in Stephen Mirich new Painting



"The Grunion Hunters" oil on board 36" x 48" 

April 27, 2015: Classical Underground is very happy to present the esteemed California plein air painter and passionate Undergrounder Stephen Mirich's new work "The Grunion Hunters". It is significant in a number of ways.
There are two great trends in California's serious contemporary representational art: a historically strong plein-air tradition, and a relatively recent classical figure movement.
California experience informs both venerable branches of the representational school. The strength of color tradition of the California plein air school informs the classical understanding of figure, while strong contemporary figurative representation influences the plein air approach, signifying the exciting phenomenon of this specifically Californian artistic "knowledge spill-over." Both trends inform each other, making them expand their boundaries and turning California today into the hotbed of a new representational movement.
Stephen's new work is an exciting example of such vibrant interaction. While successfully reconciling difficult coloristic problems, it ventures into capturing multiple figures embedded in moonlight. 


in ART we trust! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Form Sense by George Carlson

   


Classical Underground Showcase, March 23, 2015: George Carlson is one of the preeminent American representational artists of our time. Throughout his illustrious career, George has epitomized a kind of true Master rarely seen these days.
George possesses a unique Form Sense. This rare trained ability to grasp the dimensional subject in his mind opens the possibility to express form through various mediums. This is what gave the great Old Masters of Renaissance like Leonardo and Michelangelo their astonishing versatility.
Armed with such a sense, and not being limited to one particular technique or niche that many other even good artists might be exploiting their entire lives, George has left an equally important mark on both representational sculpture and painting.
Much like with giants of the Renaissance, the key to this seamless transition is a mastery of a very particular kind of dimension-focused figure drawing.  This is the secret to the unique and brilliant universality of his artistic perception that allows him to transfer his vast visual knowledge across different medium platforms, creating important contemporary works in all of them.
We are deeply honored to showcase this truly great living American Master.
Thank you to our good CU friends and artists Dan Pinkham and Tom Redfield for lending us George's magnificent works from their collections.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Humanity through visual power of Ignat Ignatov's work

   


Classical Underground Showcase, February 16, 2015: Ignat Ignatov is one of the most talented and dedicated artists of the newly emerging American figurative realism generation. In this very specific approach to ART it takes phenomenal effort to develop a phenomenal talent. The vast effort required to polish such talent to a level of serious artistic capability will not be necessarily supported by existing markets, which tend to favor easily digestible "commercial" fair. Certainly this enormous effort is not supported by the current post-modernist establishment. Elite artists like Ignat are pursuing a level of artistic perfection of which few are aware. This is why they push and expand the boundaries of human perceptional capabilities. This is why they make ART. Even the original modernists would be proud of what those few do now.

Basing their effort on classical tradition, they are making the next evolutionary step in aesthetic and perceptional development. I call this next step Novorealism. Some people call the period we are all part of Post-Contemporary.

As  evident in his figurative works' dedication to ever increasing artistic ability, it is just as important to note  Ignat's drive to put his expanding visual powers in service of the cause he believes in deeply. An ardent dog lover, he creates deeply heartfelt, poignant and compelling images of dogs in need of rescue. Here is where heart, mind and hand come together to give another evidence of Humanity. Go, Iggy!

  
   
Ignat Ignatov 

Monday, December 15, 2014

"Finishing Touches" by Aaron Westerberg


Classical Underground Showcase, December 15, 2014: Reexamining the tradition of figurative painting has been sweeping the Nation in the last decade. A growing group of young talents is choosing this venerated ART form as the perfect vehicle to express their contemporary experience.   

Aaron Westerberg is part of the new generation of California figurative painters.

Aaron grew up in San Diego.  It was a class in traditional life drawing that drew him to continue his art training.  He studied with Jeff Watts and attended the California Art Institute, where he himself later taught.

His work received the attention of such publications as Fine Art Connoisseur, Artist's Magazine and American Art Collector, and has been exhibited in fine art galleries throughout the United States and abroad.



Aaron Westerberg, "Finishing Touches" oil on canvas 32 x 24  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Leonid Steele: Artist, Master, Legend - The Legacy Lives!

CU Showcase Exhibition


Leonid Steele was an artistic giant with a remarkable life story. His career in art spanned an astounding 75 years.

The very first exhibition of his life was the 1939 World Fair in New York where he was part of the Soviet Children Art Pavilion. Recovering from a concussion during the war in Novosibirsk, he met and studied with the director of the famed Tretiakov Gallery who was evacuated to Siberia and who was one of the very few students of the great Russian Realist master, Isaac Levitan.


self-portait

Leonid went to Repin Academy after the war and became part of the core generation that revived the full glory of classical Russian Academic tradition and method. He melted that capability into decades of fearless stylistic feats. He moved mountains in ART. He became one of the founding influences of the Severe Style with his 1958 "Dawn." He participated in 11 All-Union exhibitions, the most prestigious in the USSR, a rare fit for a maverick artist who enjoyed public love, but never held any official post in the soviet art bureaucracy. Because of such public love of his work, he had rare mass media coverage of his art totaling around 30 million in circulation.

His output is truly gigantic. He painted masterpieces. He loved life and was loved back generously. He loved people, and his own visual brand of humanistic rendition of the very depths in personal characters made him unique within Socialist Realism. He touched universal humanity while faithfully portraying a nation in its long and tumultuous stretch of history. His style could be termed Humanist Realism.

His legacy and his life's work are now an inseparable part of our common culture, much as his name now belongs fully to our common history. 
  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Legends Never Die: The Legacy Lives!

Legendary Painter Leonid Steele Passing and Memorial October 15

"Self-Portrait in Ukrainian Shirt" 1953

It is with a profound sadness and pain we share the news of my Great Dad's passing on the morning of 
October 4th, 2014. 
  
A True ARTIST and Giant, he lived life anyone can only dream of.

He cheated death so many times that his entire life is a miracle. He survived the 1933 golodomor in Ukraine, a burst appendicitis in 1939 while in the Army (before newly discovered penicillin use it was considered untreatable), a heavy air bomb concussion in a first siege of Kharkov in 1941 that left him in coma for three months...

With all that he created ART, a kid from Kharkov, the first exhibition in his life was a 1939 World Fair in New York out of all places... he was part of the Soviet Children Art pavilion... While recovering from his concussion in Novosibirsk, he met and studied with the director of the famed Tretiakov Gallery that was evacuated to Siberia and who was Levitan's student.

He went to Repin Academy after the war and became part of the core generation that revived a full glory of classical Russian Academic tradition and method.  He melted that capability into decades of fearless stylistic feats.  He moved mountains in ART.  He became one of the founding influences of Severe Style with his 1958 "Dawn."  He participated in 11 All-Union exhibitions, the most prestigious in the USSR, a rare fit for a maverick artist who enjoyed public love, but never held any official post in the soviet art bureaucracy.  Because of this public love of his work he had a high mass media coverage of his Art totaling around 30 million in circulation. His output is truly gigantic.  He painted masterpieces.  He loved life and was loved back generously.  He loved people and his own visual brand of humanistic rendition of very depths in personal characters made him unique within Socialist Realism.  He touched universal humanity while faithfully portraying a nation.  He lived ART to his last breath.  He is a Star that guides, a true compass. 



"Family" 1972

We thank everyone for all your comforting words, good wishes and prayers in this difficult moment.  Old dear friends, who knew and loved him, spent happiest of times together... all who knew and loved his phenomenal work or got to know it... Our family deeply appreciates the outpouring of your support.
Thank you to all remarkable artists and whole Classical Underground Community, who made last CU the most special ever. Though I could not be there in person, I will treasure the recordings and photos forever.

For those who wish to say goodbye in person 
to my Legendary Dad, the memorial is going to be held on
  
 Wednesday, October 15 at 1pm 

Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 
6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90038. 
  
Followed by 
 A Drink in Eternal Memory of Leonid 
and
Studio Exhibition:

"Legends Never Die: The Legacy Lives!"

at my studio 
20795 Main Street, Carson, Ca 90745
 


If you wish to make a charitable contribution in Dad's name, you can make it to California Art Club were he was an Honorary Signature Member for Life.

 
The Era is closed - the Legend continues. Dad's Legacy is Forever.
ART lives! 



"The Land" 1968

Monday, October 6, 2014

Alicia Ponzio - Musical Plasticity of Movement


Classical Underground Showcase, October 6, 2014: It is an extreme pleasure to open our season with showcasing one of my favorite contemporary figurative artists - the sculptor Alicia Ponzio. Strong sculptors in many ways are even more rare than strong painters, and Alicia without any doubt possesses a rare strength of three dimensional mastery. Her heads and figures are imbued with a rare nowadays Form Sense and truly musical plasticity of movement.
  
If that was not enough, Alicia bravely tackles something specifically important to my own understanding of what constitutes the ultimate challenge and excitement in our ART form: a multi-figure composition. As I saw Alicia's magnificent "Lingering Shadows" at California Art Club's last Gold Medal Show, I was struck by the seriousness and depth of all her visual decisions masterfully weaving in space the three glorious figures. Force and Grace - what could ever be better to experience.  

Despite all conformist perils, there is some true ART being made within newly emerging post - contemporary cultural terrain!
  Alicia Ponzio
 
  Alicia Ponzio - The Lingering Shadows 
    
      
In art we trust!