From the previous post, you all should realize that I’m at the Grand Canyon right now with my wife. It’s the first “vacation” I’ve taken in years and I’ve had some time now to think about “humanity and scale and time” and all that. There isn’t much for me to say on those subjects that what a million other people haven’t already said before, but being here does make me want to go back and address Malcom Liepke’s work for a moment. This is because the Grand Canyon very very very obviously is not a part of the human existence…and I’m one who believes that the only stories worth telling are about human existence and the relationships it’s made of – that’s it. We could all be on another planet, living in a 2D black and white plane, whatver – our stories and our lives and our realities would be the same anyway despite the different environments. Without our souls, it’s all just more rock.

So, that all said, why do I bring up Liepke? Go ahead and check out these links before reading further:

http://www.arcadiafinearts.com/works_liepke.html

http://www.peabodyfineart.com/liepke/index.htm

http://www.telluridegallery.com/html/artistresults.asp?artist=357&testing=true

Now, imagine flipping through the December issue if American Artist (an issue on something or the other – portraits?) and slogging your way through what normally passes for art…and then coming upon his work. I mean, c’mon – don’t you feel the electricity? The humanity, the emotion? This is what art is, to me. It’s a connection. His work communicates that “stuff” that makes our world more than just another lump of rock. I don’t care how intellectually interesting a piece is, or what new never-before-seen techniques are used – they don’t matter if they have no soul. It seems to me that most “art” progress is just like the progress of any other product. Someone with genius (either a stroke of, or birth-given) does something brilliant that just connects with its audience. This kind of direct pathway to the human soul is not something that just anyone or anything can replicate…but…people try anyway…on the surface. It’s like watching the music industry manufacture these cut-out bands you hear so often after the true talent makes its mark: Ok, those guys had some guitar like this..and hair like that…and sung about this..let’s go find some other people that do that!

There’s more to it than that and Malcom Liepke is one of the ones who just nails it.

He stays true to what the eye sees -just enough- to convey the emotion. No more. As stylized as his work is, it’s much more believable to my heart (and mind..one often follows the other) than any overly intellectualized piece could possibly achieve – however realistic or emotionall-contrived. I mean, when I look into the eyes of someone in his artwork, I get the same electric zing as I do when I lock gazes with people in real life. How often does art do that to you?

Does his work do that for you? How often does art do that for you? Where you feel the presence of another soul nearby..just by looking at a painting?

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