The subjects inside the frame of Swiss-U.S. artist Anita Peghini-Räber’s paintings refuse to hold still. In the best sense, there is no single “moment” recorded by her images. The unresolved outlines, the quality of “sketch” to the drawn boarders of her figures, the aggressive application of line and color, create a kind of kaleidoscope or lenticular effect. Each vibrates in time, bracketed by it’s own ghost-images, like contiguous frames in a reel of exposed motion picture film. Difficult to pigeonhole but irresistibly familiar, her paintings may send you riffling through your own recollection of the images you’ve seen before somewhere, but you can’t quite remember where. They share something in common with the American Figurative Expressionist painters, such as Elaine and Willem de kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, and Robert Beauchamp. But the sheer expressive flow of line, the lyricism and even whimsy, suggest such diverse influences as Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, and Egon Shiele. In many of her nudes, she reveals herself to be a voluptualist, merrily overstating the rolling arc of hip or bosom. Such exaggerated and disproportionate volumetry may even recall Botero. But she, Anita, seems less interested in Botero’s irony and social commentary. Her paintings are not charicatures or editorials, but more immediate celebrations of form, of shape, of the human, and of the act of painting itself.
And this is another place her work gets enourmously interesting. Her proclivity for some of the expressionistic tennants of “action painting” — her willingness to let gravity shape the composition in the form of lines of dripping paint, for example – hint at tensions, even contractitions, that command the attention and contemplation of the viewer. Anita’s figures are in some sense sensualist. They celebrate beauty, even fecundity, but they do so in the simultaneous presence of something also aggressive, even possibly threatening. Those paint-drip lines slash across the figure. As do other, more diliberate diagonals. The same is true with sudden rectilinear patches of color. These generate intonations of danger. Of scaring. Of the corporeal wound. These are figures not imune to the Sturm und Drang of the world. To menace and peril. To experience. And though her paintings, particularly the nudes, feel personal – though there is a sense of empathy with the model, and collaboration – she elects not to render the facial features of her subjects, instead content with only an evocation of face. These aren’t quite the “masks” of Picasso’s Demoiselles, but neither are they given their entire individuation. We are left with a sense, then, of both the personal vulnerability of these subjects, and their impersonal universality. There is both a humnized quality, and an automatized. And ultimately, it is probably these juxtopositions that help make these paintings so magnetic to the eye, and the mind, of the viewer. Here is beauty, vibrancy, even joy. but present also are intonations of the doleful, of the precarious, possibly even the violent. In “Passing On”, one of Anita’s several “mother and child” paintings, a single flower angles up toward the mother’s head while the infant addresses its mother’s naked breast. Save for the few goemetric lines that sketch out the sofa on which infant and mother sit, this is the only other figure in the painting, foreground or background. The stiff leaves along its stem, rendered in Anita’s broad, quick, large-brush-charge strokes, jut out straight as blades. The bulb of the flower, outlined in blood red and inclining toward the heads of both mother and child, exceeds each in size on the canvas. The mouth of its petals yawns open. So. Just a pretty flower, or some kind of fairytale interloper with bad intent? Questions like that, likely answerable only by each individual visitor to these paintings, are part of what give good art, challenging art, its enduring character. Peghini-Räber’s dynamic and expressionistic paintings are anything but simplistic or pandering. They are undeniably beautiful to look at, but ultimately all the more so because it is often a more difficult beauty, a mitigated beauty, an informed beauty, even an Existential beauty. The pure, kenetic esprit de corps or her paintings evokes an immediate and involuntary joy. But the presence of a serious, spontaneous, and unguarded hand behind the paintings permit you to dwell before them in a more gratifying rapture far longer. Patrick Cribben Independent filmmaker, photographer, and critic
Mosaic Second Saturday ARTwalk Rain or Shine year round Sashay through Rehoboth find your favorite art work, meet your friends and make new ones. The place to see and to be seen.
You are cordially invited November 9, 6 to 9 p.m.
Anita is excited to share her work shortly at CAF in Manhattan, Time-Square.
http://henney.com/weekend14/ by Dagmar Kirchner
http://henney.com/weekend06/ Celebrating the Art of the Tango, In Dance and Painting by Dagmar Henney
.Host of Tango DE Arte.
.Monthly Milongas. Argentine Tango.
.An enchanting Night at the Beach.
.Tangueras, Tangueros Welcome.
.9th Milonga November 30, 2013.
“The most important thing is not how many steps you learn but that, when you do each step, you’re celebrating the life of the milonguero who made the step. If you do it without life, you’re destroying the work of 60 years.” Gabriel-Missé
Sunday Night Tango, All Levels Welcome with Jonathan Janis, every Sunday 5-7 p.m. until December 2013 at the gallery, 49 Baltimore Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. See what has been done last Sunday
Tango Series by Anita Peghini-Räber, Pastel on Water Color Paper, 11 x 7.5 inches
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All of “Anita’s easy Art Crit” coaching classes below are on a first-come-first-serve basis, so register early to reserve your seat!
For more comprehensive coaching, fees are:
$150 / month includes an initial 1 hour consultation by phone or in person, followed by three (3) weekly thirty-minute phone consults over each month. Plus periodic reviews of homework via email.
SHORE WOMAN MAGAZINE, Spring 2012
http://henney.com/weekend07/ New Expressionist featured in Rehoboth! by Dagmar Henney
http://henney.com/weekend05/New Tango Group performs in Rehoboth’s New Art Gallery. If you want to learn, this group will show you how! by Dagmar Henney.
Proud Sponsor of:
http://henney.com/weekend10/ by Alan and DagmarHenney.