Friday, 20 June 2008

Odilon Redon

This is a painting by the French artist Odilon Redon. 1840 ~ 1916. It's titled " Silence"
He seems to have been quite a productive sort of man and appears to generally have been content to stick to his own artistic concerns with almost no reference to developments in the greater art world.

I'm feeling a bit lazy this morning so rather than try and sum his work up here's an excerpt from "Symbolism" , by Michael Gibson.

"Standing outside trends and movements, Odilon Redon, a native of Bordeaux, produced a rich and enigmatic corpus: 'Like music', he declared, 'my drawings transport us to the ambiguous world of the indeterminate.' In contrast with Goya's monsters and Kubin's nightmare visions, his work is imbued with a melancholy passivity. While origins of this disposition must be sought in the artist's experience, the overall effect is entirely consistent with the moods of Symbolism ... : nocturnal, autumnal, and lunar rather than solar. During the early part of Redon's career, the nocturnal did indeed predominate. Only later did he admit the light of day. His mature production began around 1875 when Redon entered the shadowy world of charcoal and the lithographer's stone. This period yielded sequences such as [Guardian Spirit of the Waters (1878)] and [Cactus Man (1881)]. Redon made it clear that they had been inspired by his dreams, and they inspire in the spectator a conviction like that of dreams.

"It was only in the 1890s that he began to use the luminous, musical tones of pastel and oils. These became the dominant media of the last fifteen years of his life. Redon's art was always commanded by his dreams, but the thematic content of his work over his last twenty years is more densely mythical, brimming with new-found hope and light which rose quite unexpectedly out of the depths of the artist's personality. This is particularly apparent in the various canvasses depicting the chariot of Apollo, the god of the sun."

I've also been drawn to many of the ideas he writes about in his diaries to himself. This one is a current favourite.

"Materials have their own secrets to reveal, they have their own genius. It is through them that the oracle speaks"


Anonymous said...

Hi Ford,

I have a question, if you would be so kind to answer. Where do you buy your gold sheet?


Ford Hallam said...

Greetings Kathleen,

I don't ever buy gold sheet. I buy fine gold and make my on sheet. Having a rolling mill helps ;-)

Depending on the actual alloy of gold, or even if you want pure gold, general jewellery bullion suppliers should be able to help.

regards, Ford

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ford,

Is there any specific company you know of? This metal stuff is all rather beyond me. Unfortunately, I'm nowhere near buying a rolling mill at this point, so that's out of the question. I appreciate your help.

Hope you are well,


Anonymous said...

Ford- I didn't know there are published diaries of Redon. I'll have to track a copy down. I first saw a painting by Redon "Orpheus", I think, my first year of college and was struck by the very personal vision in his artwork. The excerpted description sums things up well. Perhaps you're attracted to the aethereal handling of the oils? A contrast to the chiselled surface of metal?

-Doug Sanders

Ford Hallam said...

Hi Kathleen, yes all well here, thanks.
I can't really offer any suggestions for suppliers as I've never worked in Canada or America. Perhaps you might ask over on the Ganoskin site, that's pretty comprehensive in terms of Jewellery making technology and materials.

Ford Hallam said...

Hi Doug, I'm not aware of a published version of his diaries either, sorry If I gave you the wrong impression. I've merely been coming across quite a lot of them recently, well...I have been looking ..;-)

I am, as you guessed, quite drawn to that ethereal quality that his colours have. I'm preparing some gesso grounds at the moment and want to see if I can find a compliment to my metalwork in this, very different, medium.

Namaste, Ford

Doug Sanders said...

Thanks for the additional quotes. I've found a few published collections of his correspondence, but none of them translated into english. I'm sure they'd be worth the read.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ford,

Glad to hear all's well there.

Actually, I'm not so limited as to buy exclusively in Canada or the US; rather, it's a matter of whether the item sought meets my needs. Wherever that ends up being, is irrelevant.

I shall scuttle off Ganoskin, as you have suggested; I'm sure you've got plenty on your plate.

Take care,