Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Firtler" 2008, oil on panel, 31"x29"

Magnus Enckell (1870-1925)

It feels dangerous sometimes to share a great love. One is always fearful of sounding too sentimental or naive. It is dishonest however, to have a painting career without acknowledging what one has learned from others. Any artist who implies that their creative voice somehow sprang to life without influence is not to be trusted. A painter who has profoundly influenced my work is the great Finnish Symbolist and Post-Impressionist artist Magnus Enckell. His work has a spiritual, almost mystical quality. His Symbolist work's compact design displays a restraint of color and gesture that concentrates the introspective mood. Enckell's identification with the sensitive male adolescent is particularly moving. Sensuality and spirituality are perfectly balanced. These pieces never succumb to the considerable danger of becoming kitsch. Among the Symbolists, there are very few who didn't lose themselves to decorative, sensual, or sentimental excess. Later in life, the mood of Enckell's work lightens. His Post-Impressionist phase becomes more colorful and pastoral. This major change in his approach is very inspiring in it's apparent fearlessness. I am smitten by Magnus Enckell.