Video: The “Acceptance” Series as Commentary on Human Consciousness

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As part of the “Acceptance” exhibition, I gave an artist’s talk on March 11, 2014. Guests enjoyed a one-time oppotunity to see the paintings alongside a collection of color studies and reference material, lending insights into my creative process. In this excerpt  from the presentation, I discuss my thinking behind these paintings, which depict horrific events in human history with an outward beauty the belies their disturbing content. “It’s beauty to ease the horror, and horror to make the beauty unsettling,” writes SeattleMet.

If you have trouble seeing the video here, find it at my YouTube Channel.

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“Acceptance” Series on Exhibit at Lisa Harris Gallery

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About Author

Mitchell Albala is the author of Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice (Watson-Guptill, 2009). A best-seller with over 35,000 copies in print, it has been called the "new classic of landscape." A respected teaching artist for more than 25 years, Mitchell currently teaches at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Pacific Northwest Art School, Winslow Art Center, and Arte Umbria in Italy. He has also lectured at the Seattle Art Museum and written for International Artist and Artists & Illustrators magazines.

2 Comments

  1. Ben Morales-Correa on

    This is really interesting. Reminds me of Turner’s approach to storms and disasters such as his two paintings of the Burning of Parliament. I agree that we shouldn’t sacrifice beauty in our depiction of horrific events. That fusion is what makes paintings sublime. Edmund Burke in his Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, published in 1756, stated that those things we call beautiful have the properties of smoothness, delicacy, softness of color, and elegance of movement. The sublime, on the other hand, comprehends the vast, the obscure, the powerful, the rugged, the difficult — attributes which produce in the spectator a kind of astonished wonder and even terror. For the people of Rome in 1511, Raphael was beautiful but Michelangelo sublime.

  2. Richard Robison on

    Mitch: A very interesting approach to documenting these happenings, keeping them alive, and vital. Pre-photography, painting and sculpture were the sole source of documenting human events both good and bad. While they were literal, I think your atmospherical abstractions, while beautiful, stimulate reflection and remembrance. As a person having grown up from the 40’s to today, fear that the people who have grown up beginning with the 80’s will not take this history all that seriously, with dire consequences. So paint on!

    Richard