Saturday, April 7, 2012

Arte Contemporanea a Firenze - Joop Kruis

photo courtesy of All Art Has Been Contemporary
A few years ago the city of Florence began a crusade to promote the contemporary arts. There were exhibitions held in various public spaces throughout the city including a neon light piece on the facade of the Uffizi Gallery that read "All art has been contemporary" A fantastic statement to be considered when visiting one of the oldest and most important art galleries in the world.  Since then Florence and her many artists of residence have continued to push and promote these works with new contemporary art galleries popping up all over the city.

As many of you know, I am on that mission too. And in my small way I am doing what I can to highlight and give exposure to as many contemporary artists here in Florence as possible.

Of course this can be a bit difficult around here. I mean lets face it, most people don't come to Florence, the birth place of the Renaissance looking for contemporary art, they come to see the Birth of Venus and The David. So did I. But what is often forgotten is that those of us who live here actually have new visions and new ideas and share the same passion for creating new work that the contemporary artists of the Renaissance once had. We are inspired by the old to create the new.

So as you can imagine, I am always on the look out for new work and try to attend as many gallery openings as possible. This past Thursday evening I had the pleasure of meeting Joop Kruis a Dutch painter who will be showing his work here in Florence at Galleria d' Arte A. Dessi.  or also know as Abracadabra Firenze.  In keeping with the history of the Dutch masters Kruis' oil paintings focus on realism and detail.
La Margherita ( The Daisy)
The show is titled 'Scenes from the Past' and highlights movie stills from Italian films and actors of the 1950's such as Sofia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni.

I was very interested in the way Kruis kept the figures in the classic black and white image that we are accustomed to seeing them in, yet chose the bright colored background to draw attention and add that element of contemporary that once again reminds us that they too were once pop culture.
Joop Kruis shows his versatility as an artist in the Solo e Abbandonata piece with the foggy street and diffused light and the two figures sitting on the curb in the foreground. With this work there is less attention to detail and presence and more of a focus on mood and feeling. The image certainly evokes a sense of abandonment and loneliness seemingly in contrast to the celebrity paintings, yet at the same time they are connected to this idea though their facial expressions which may tell a similar story of loneliness.

La Gabbia (The Cage)
 Overall, I very much enjoyed the work and there is no doubting Kruis' skill and talent as a painter. So if your in town looking for an alternative to the Renaissance stop by and have a look at this show. 

What do you think of Joop Kruis' work? Let me know in the comments section below.

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