Wednesday, January 27, 2010

From Folk Music to the Musuem: Dylan's paintings on Display

Over the decades Bob Dylan has explored the borderlands between theology and the arts in nuanced, profound and unexpected ways. Whether it was spiritually charged political anthems like "Blowing in the Wind" in his early days, or his explicitly Christian albums (such as Shot of Love) from his born-again phase in the early 1980s, or his ghostly magisterial late-career magnum opus Modern Times in 2006, Dylan has been a master explorer of theological aesthetics. But did you know he can handle a brush just as well as a 6-string?

SPEAKEASY, The Wall Street Journal's arts blog, reported the following yesterday on Bob Dylan's paintings:

// Full Article Here // Excerpt Below //

The times may be a-changing, but Bob Dylan is still a maverick, in the traditional sense of the word.

The 68-year-old singer songwriter—who once declared, “All I can do is be me, whoever that is”—is now a serious painter. From Feb. 13, a collection of 12 canvases by Dylan will go on show at London’s Halcyon Gallery, with price tags that range from £85,000 ($137,000) to £450,000 ($727,000). The images capture moments from Dylan’s everyday life on tour – a motel pool, a staircase, a portrait of two sisters – and seem to take stylistic cues from the likes of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.

The art exhibition isn’t Dylan’s first. A few years ago, a curator in the German town of Chemnitz came across “Drawn Blank,” a collection of drawings Dylan had sketched on tour from 1989-1992, which was published by Random House in 1994. The curator encouraged Mr. Dylan to transform the collection of sketches into paintings, and Chemnitz staged the first-ever exhibition of the singer’s paintings in 2007. The paintings on show at the Halcyon Gallery are the final installments in the “Drawn Blank Series” and the only ones on canvas (others were water-color and gouache on paper).

“He has been drawing all of his life; he is an artist in every sense of the word – a true artist,” said Paul Green, the director of the Halcyon Gallery. “I was really very pleasantly surprised and shocked at the caliber of the work and also the thought process behind it.”

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