The outcomes of Blair’s policy oil painting

Blairism canvas - harsh visual statement!

BY Shane Lewis POSTED 12th of June 2018 17:00 GMT


Blairism


Blairism, abstract painting. Painted 2016 to 2017 by British artist, Gheorghe Virtosu, b.1968. Abstract art, Oil painting, 141 cm high by 138 cm wide. 55 X 54 inches. 


The theme

Unlike many, the contemporary artist doesn’t want his pieces to be the Kantian ‘things-in-itself.’ Being the follower of non-figurative art, he still keeps the narration as an important part of his creations, introducing it through the speaking titles and ‘epigraphs’ to the works. While definitely relishing the artistic qualities of the abstract art medium, the author at least partly submits it to the general concept that frequently touches upon the subjects of personal or social matter.

Subject

Living in the UK for many years, Gheorghe Virtosu has seen the country following the various political vectors, achieving success and making mistakes. For the painter (as for a significant number of other British citizens), it was the premiership of Tony Blair, which appears to be the most ambiguous, if not almost destructive for the country. It can be clearly seen from his Blairism oil painting and the highly-critical quote from The Guardian article about the outcomes of Blair’s policy, which serves as the comment to the subject. 

Act

However, our aim is not to discuss the artist’s views, but to analyze the way they are reflected in his abstract art. It would be difficult to demonstrate the entire ‘legacy’ of a person in a traditional realistically rendered portrait, not talking about doing the same with the help of the abstract painting language. Notwithstanding, the latter is proved to be the relevant instrument, as a distance from the traditional approach enables the artist to avoid getting personal and deride an individual, criticizing acts and their impact instead.

Blairism

Color

As a fresh Labour leader, Tony Blair was seen as a very promising politician, being highly charismatic and seemed to be ready to introduce the real changes. However, despite all those hopes, his political route reminded a speeding-up tailspin. The downward movement is clearly expressed in the discussed Virtosu’s piece. Typical for the painter undulating forms are not lifting up or floating, but sliding off the composition, as the intertwined drawing has no upward direction, looks wilted and ends with the elongated, ‘drip’-like forms. The sense of gravitation pulling the figure down is amplified by the chiefly dark coloring of the shapes. The heaviness of dark-blue is juxtaposed by the goldish surrounding color field, which unwillingly recalls the icon painting. Golden tints add the high emotional pitch to the piece, and, along with that, the shimmering effect, produced by the smudge painterly gestures, leads to the sense of instability and uncertainty.

The image

Gheorghe Virtosu avoids turning his painting into a satirical caricature. The image isn’t about criticizing the past - it suggests making the right conclusions for the future instead. With due respect to the leadership and its responsibilities, he finds the way to render a powerful and, to a certain extent, harsh visual statement.




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