4 Artists Magazine June 2020
From The Editor
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AND SO THE STORY GOES
Every piece of art—whether a success or not—
begins with an idea, even if it’s very simple. When
artists do have a more complex concept behind a
work, however, many will say that while this idea
may drive their vision, and hopefully the outcome,
it isn’t imperative that a viewer understand it.
Artists tell us over and over that they find great
pleasure in hearing viewers bring their own story-
telling to a piece because, generally speaking, a work
of art—even if it has a strong narrative element—
isn’t intended to communicate a specific storyline but rather to provoke
contemplation, to make a connection. When viewers bring their own
experience to the understanding of a painting, the artist has achieved
something deeply powerful: a shared empathy.
This issue features stories about artists who delight in expanding the nar-
rative, whether the idea is distinct at the outset or develops over the course
of the creative process. In some cases, the artist may gather inspiration from
artists of old. For example, Zoey Frank (page 34) launched her vision from
a 19th-century masterpiece and later found creative solutions in the work
of 14th- and 15th-century artists. Stanka Kordic (page 40) anchors her
paintings with a central figure or figures, but the subject is just a point of
departure for a painting that will be shaped and re-shaped as the artist
responds to developing imagery. For Carolyn Robles (page 48), the stories
behind her paintings are inseparable from the stories of the people she
portrays, imbuing her work with a strong sense of compassion.
In all of this work, and in the work of other artists throughout these
pages, we’re reminded, once again, of the power of art to reveal our
shared human experience.
Inspired by his wife, Bella, Marc Chagall turned
frequently to the theme of lovers and brides in
his work. In Over the Town (1918; oil on
canvas, 17¾ x22), the couple is shown fl ying
high above the artist’s hometown of Vitebsk,
Belarus, in a dreamlike picture of marital bliss.
TRETYAKOV GALLERY, MOSCOW