The Works of Peter Gazdag

out-peter-gazdagOur ancient ancestors adorned their civilizations with artwork telling us the story of peoples and ways of life from otherwise forgotten periods in human history. With the ever-growing gap between today’s art market and mainstream culture, if future generations were to uncover much of the contemporary art created over the past few decades, it’s debatable what it would communicate about us and our society. With all the movements and experiments, the basic thread of public accessibility seems to have been abandoned in the world of visual arts. Peter Gazdag is a Budapest-born artist dedicated to restoring humans to the art form as he explores new narrative techniques with canvas and paint.

Gazdag composes with oil paints, favoring a thick and expressive texture reminiscent of Van Gogh’s later works. He takes a guerilla approach to capturing his subjects in the moment, then paints directly from the sketches, rarely depending on photography. This process of seeing a subject with his eyes, sketching it with his hands, and then translating the full scene in oil allows for the being of the individual to breath more freely into the final work.

Cart-Without-Rider-(Part 1)Focusing almost exclusively on people, Gazdag crafts theatrical setups of individuals or small groups of people in everyday settings. Through the use of body language and facial expressions, he tells an entirely visual story with no textual aid or basis, leaving the viewer to put together the narrative solely based on what they see. Adding to that basic technique he also crafts series, committing multiple canvasses to a selection of dramatic moments in one story, much like pulling out key frames from a reel of film with the advantage of condensed information to tell all angles of a situation. In this manner, the viewer is given a chance to better know the depicted people, gleaning from action and reaction the stories beneath the movements and the relationships between the characters.

Gazdag’s subjects are anatomically correct, yet the colors and brush strokes that bring them to life have a surreal quality, granting them an existence independent of the sources they were drawn from. His brushwork is both captivating and suggestive, creating internal narratives within the greater story. Impassioned brush movements not only combine to form a face and its expression, but also a teaming sea of visceral emotion, ranging from the placidness of a calm lake to the directed strength of a quick-running river to the chaos and violence of a threatening squall. Much like a hallucinatory experience, viewers exploring a Gazdag painting are given a new dimension of vision that removes the illusion of constancy and opens the eyes to the continuous, breathing movements in all things. Even the background walls possess a vibrancy of life in his work.

If future generations were to discover a surviving Gazdag painting, our basic human nature would be abundantly clear and, in the words of William Shakespeare, we would stand as further proof that “All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players.” - C. Jefferson Thom

cj_thom

Mr. Thom lives in New York City and walks dogs, writes plays, and loves dissecting pop culture.

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