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30th Mar 2012

Happy Birthday Vincent van Gogh!

Vincent van Gogh was born March 30, 1853 in Zundert, Netherlands. He is known as a Post-Impressionist painter, one of the best know artists world-wide and is credited for his influence on twentieth century art.

Vincent van Gogh has been my favorite artist and painter and now greatest artistic influence ever since I can remember.

My relationship with Vincent van Gogh began as soon as I was able to walk, as my parents took me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art once I could walk, and returned frequently on weekend days of bitter cold or inclement weather (when they could not take me to the playground), as the art delighted me and a kid can wear themselves out walking through the large museum and climbing the stairs. It quickly became and remains a personal “ritual” that the last stop is to see the van Goghs. My favorite painting in the world is there: Cypresses.

Psalm 113 — Vincent van Gogh, 2010, ink on paper, by Judy Rey Wasserman

Since I am founding Post Conceptual Art and a branch of that called as UnGraven Image  van Gogh’s art clearly continues to influence art to our twenty-first Century.

The idea that a secular narrative (image) can convey religious or spiritual content stems from van Gogh. Vincent van Gogh’s father was a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church. Later Vincent van Gogh had a stint as a missionary himself. He wanted people to view his paintings and feel his passion, and he was very passionate about God and His creation.

What makes an artist a “blue chip” artist is their influence on other artists, especially those who go on to also influence other artists. These ideas can later be found in the works of Kandinsky and Rothko, two of the artistic giants and influencers of the Twentieth century (and obviously me).

Psalm 113 — Vincent van Gogh (color #1) 2011, original tradigital print, by Judy Rey Wasserman

I hold that Warhol, who attended his church weekly all of his life, knew these ideas and artistically applied them to the landscape of his urban life, which was filled with news and commercial imagery made by human hands. My belief of this is backed by Warhol’s latter religious works, where he uses commercial brands, such as General Electric and Dove Soap, to symbolize divine light and the Holy Spirit.

At twelve years of age I was given a bus and then train pass, plus as a student I enjoyed free admission to all of the art museums in NYC. I spent most after school afternoons and weekends visiting them, most especially the Met and MoMA, and art galleries until I left college and the Art Student’s League. So, during my artistically formative years, I spent an inordinate amount of time, including many afternoons, simply looking at and studying van Gogh’s works.

At the Met I saw and learned that like Da Vinci, Rembrandt and J.M.W. Turner, van Gogh is a master of dualities. For me his later works burst with passion that at once expresses joy and glory along with pain and fury. As an adolescent, my life (and hormones) also raged with these seemingly disparate emotions, which The Cypresses and Sunflowers echoed, so I felt somehow heard and understood van Gogh in a way that no one else in my world managed to convey.

Van Gogh’s works also helped inspire my idea of using symbols (letters/numbers) for the strokes in a painting. At 8 or 9 years old, I was absent when the rest of my class learned Morse Code. I returned to take a test on it that I utterly failed but the class moved on. All I had was an introduction to the idea that dots and dashes could stand for letters, and to me the dots and dashes looked like the dots and dashes I was familiar with in van Gogh’s paintings. Since I could not read Morse Code, I never spoke of this to my Dad on our museum visits as he was a veteran who knew Morse Code, and my question would reveal my ongoing failure to learn it. For several years I actually thought van Gogh was somewhat painting in Morse Code.

As an adult, I have learned to see the “footprints” of the words of The Divine everywhere and always – even in the darkest moments. There is always a duality, light coming from dark as in Genesis 1. As an artist I work to show this understanding, which I learned from van Gogh in my own unique way, in my art.

The greatest lesson I learned from van Gogh is that visual fine art can change lives. It can inspire new understandings, bridges between people and cultures, and that great art, whatever the narrative, is always somehow holy and inspirational. I doubt that I would be an artist today, or even as good a human being as I continue to strive to become without his influence and spanning across time, his visual friendship, for which I aptly thank God, as van Gogh would have wished.

Portrait of Vincent van Gogh Sunset by Judy Rey Wasserman

Close up section of Psalm 113 and Genesis 1-2:7 — Vincent van Gogh Sunset study, 2012, mixed media on board, by Judy Rey Wasserman

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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art at ungravenimage.com.

Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art theory is based at the intersection of ancient spiritual wisdom and cutting-edge contemporary science. It shows us a new and enhanced spiritual and science-based way to see the world. It is a life changing vision that can even become an actual new way of seeing that is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Can this be true? See for yourself. See more or yourself. Discover the art of Judy Rey Wasserman’s UnGraven Image. at ungravenimage.com.

Check out the Fine Art Limited Edition prints, decorative prints, books, and printables that are currently available to you through Judy Rey’s Art of Seeing The Divine Shop. You don’t have to buy to avail yourself of the art and inspiration available there. However, if you select to collect investment quality archival art, or decorate your home with images created with strokes that are original letters from Bible texts, or buy a gift for someone special, there is a secure shopping cart that accepts most credit cards so your purchase is easy to accomplish. https://artofseeingthedivine.com.

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