The spirit of the old masters
This story was featured in the October 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine October 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine October 2012 digital download here. Or subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
Michael DeVore has come a long way from his childhood interest in drawing cartoons. These days the Colorado-based artist is known for still-life and figurative works that evoke the spirit of the old masters. “I do find myself looking to past masters and trying to do my own take on their works,” he says.
In PORK CHOP AND POBLANOS, DeVore is paying homage to Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, the 18th-century still-life artist known for his works depicting household items and foodstuffs such as ribs of beef. DeVore points out that the piece also features his current penchant for portraying peppers and subjects that have a quiet nature, including domestic scenes of everyday life. “Nowadays people are in such a hurry, they are working so hard, and they are distracted by technology. I want to convey the idea of enjoying the simple things of life, such as reading a book or preparing a meal,” he says. “I want people to see the beauty in simple objects.”
DeVore, 29, graduated with a degree in fine art from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, in 2005, but felt his training leaned too far toward modernism. After graduation he enrolled at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. His intent at the time, he recalls, was to be able to paint like the works he had seen in museums in Europe as a child. At the academy, he spent the first year concentrating solely on drawing. For the next two years he focused on painting and was honored to have one of his figure drawings exhibited in the academy’s private collection of student works.
As a young painter he says it can be easy to focus on technique and hard to let go and be expressive. That’s why these days his aim is to paint “more fearlessly.” “Even Rembrandt’s early paintings were very tight, but as he got older, he was trying not to make things look realistic, and it was more about what he could do with the paint,” DeVore says. “That’s where I want to go with my paintings.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the October 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine October 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine October 2012 print edition
Or subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
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