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The End of the One Dimension: The Paintings of David Bowie

June 21, 2017 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.

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The Paintings of David Bowie

The paintings of David Bowie demonstrate the fallacy and futility of the trend of modern culture to depict a person as one dimensional – Musician, Pop Star, Music Icon, Actor, as if there were no other facets to the person. Some of this is for simplicity, simplicity of identification. Any other accomplishment by such a person is often trivialized and a “hobby,” or a “passion” which portray significant accomplishment and depth as mere novelty adding to the entertainment value of the person.

This tendency, unfortunately, can be found in the practices of the “higher-culture” Institutions. Thus, one is “a painter,”  “a musician,” “an actor,” etc. , thus perpetuating the view that a person  can be easily categorized as one, but not another.  A creative force can have many facets. We do recognize this quality, sort of, with Michelangelo,  and Leonardo, for instance, but as an exception due to extraordinary genius, but not to be accorded to lesser humans.

But is it Art?

In this post, the narrowness of such a view is demonstrated by the paintings of David Bowie in his Very Priviate Gallery.

As written by in Open Culture,

“‘Even Bowie fans who know only his music will have seen one of those paintings, a self-portrait which made the cover of his 1995 album Outside. That same year he had his first show as a painter, “‘New Afro/Pagan and Work: 1975-1995,'” at The Gallery, Cork Street.”‘

Bowie Outside

This cover art for the album Outside by the artist David Bowie. The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the label, Arista/BMG, or the graphic artist(s).

“Bowie’s “‘Berlin era'” in the late 1970s, which produced the albums LowLodger, and “‘Heroes'” (all to varying degrees involving the collaboration of Brian Eno) as an especially fruitful period of his musical career. [The] galleries and museums of the German capital also witnessed Bowie’s first immersion into the world of visual art, both as an enthusiast and as a creator. The city even found its way into some of his paintings, such as 1977’s Child in Berlin [below] “Heroes”, the final album of Bowie’s “Berlin trilogy,” even inspired a bit of Bowie artwork, the self-portrait sketch below modeled on the record’s famous cover photo by Masayoshi Sukita, itself inspired by Erich Heckel’s 1917 painting Roquairol.”

Bowie-Painting-3

‘”David Bowie paintings show a knowledgeable approach to art, influenced by Frank Auerbach, David Bomberg, Francis Bacon, Francis Picabia…'” says Very Private Gallery in a post on 25 of those works of art, adding that his style “also shows a touch of post-modernism, more precisely neo-expressionism movement.'”

“‘David Bowie paintings show a knowledgeable approach to art, influenced by Frank Auerbach, David Bomberg, Francis Bacon, Francis Picabia…,” says Very Private Gallery in a post on 25 of those works of art, adding that his style “‘also shows a touch of post-modernism, more precisely neo-expressionism movement.'” ()pen Culture.)

Bowie-painting-4

Lastly, check out Bowie’s “study for painting.”

David-Bowie-painting study

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