Rene Magritte

This section is dedicated to the artwork of René François Ghislain Magritte (November 21, 1898– August 15, 1967) who was a Belgian surrealist artist who painted around 1,600 pieces. There are may ways that we are similar, I've included a few examples below.

    Magritte with a surreal pose

I'm not a fan of abstract art. Although some images like fractals pose an awesome type of beauty and wonderment to me, real images connect me to my world. If you're not trying to say something, if you're not trying to get the viewer involved mentally and emotionally- why bother. Provoking thought is an essential element of art for me and even though some surrealist images are not to be fathomed, making me think is enough. That's why Magritte is important to me.

Magritte is poking fun at reality itself, at meaning and at our perception of reality. Sometimes he tells us that what we see is not real it's just paint on canvas. Sometimes night is day and day is night. His iconic symbols like the egg and apple have profound meaning...well maybe not. It's just a joke you see.

Rene Magritte described his paintings saying, "My painting is visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, 'What does that mean?' It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable."

Magritte took this stance that no one could fathom his paintings, that reality is in fact unfathomable. Contrary to what he said publicly, Magritte cared deeply about his work and there is meaning in his work. In fact he distanced himself from the surrealist ideologies in the early 1930s and tried to use ordinary objects as symbols. The interpretation he leaves to the viewer.

Here are some examples of Magritte's influence on my art. It's not that I have tried to copy or emulate him or his work in any's just that some of the things I do remind me of his style of painting. The first example is Sally Goodin:

                Sally Goodin by Richard L. Matteson Jr. 2008

There are a few mysterious images. Eck Roberston towering above the mountains...the cherry pie and puddin' seem to be magically placed.

Reflections by Richard L. Matteson Jr. 2006

Reflections is a bit of a mental mind game. The mysterious horses, the painting within a painting (the actual painting is upside down and is a painting of a painting on an eisel). There's inconic religious imagery and it's based on the legend of Lady Godiva. Magritte like to base his paintings on poetry and literature.

All of my Driftwood Series use mental trickery of some kind. Some of my early paintings have mysterious objects like the Flower of the Universe, the flower become almost magical as if imbued with a surreal power.

Flower of the Universe

Of the many artists I admire I think Rene Magritte is closest in style and temperment to me. It's almost like we are kindred souls. Maybe I'll paint a few canvases in tribute to him, using some of his a joke of course.

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