Stanley Pinker: The Embrace - SOLD
Stanley Pinker (b 1924)
Oil on board
37,5 x 20 cm
Signed bottom left
Sold - 2011
Pinker’s command of the formal vocabulary of painting is long-steeped in a deep understanding of early twentieth-century European modernism, while his rootedness in a specifically South African realm of experience is the basis of his art’s authenticity and integrity.
Becoming aware of the complexities of South African society after his 12 year sojourn in Europe, Pinker broke away from idealistic landscape painting in the 1960’s to include figures which made his work less specific of place and more specific of content .
The small scale of ‘The Embrace’ was a calculated decision by the artist to emphasize this intimate moment shared by the two lovers. The painting recalls the original embrace between Adam and Eve, in a setting as remote and unspoiled as the Garden of Eden. A vibrant contrast is created between the warm, fleshy hues of the figures and those of the cool green, leafy surround, with the reflection of piercing light through the foliage creating green reflections on their skin. Describing a similar work, Cate Wood Hunter notes: [t]he figures represent “sensuousness and the sensuousness of paint and colour” . This sensuousness is achieved by the thick, juicy application of paint with confident brushstrokes, the figures built up, blending and morphing their angular shapes into one bodily mass, capturing this intimate moment for eternity.
Esmé Berman comments: Although he retains faith in figurative imagery, Pinker’s intention is to make deeper, more cryptic observations about experience than can be conveyed in the factual description of natural appearances. Therefore he attempts to create a new psychological dimension within his canvases by distorting space and recomposing elements of observable reality within this new environment .
This work, seen in context of the artist’s oeuvre, seems somewhat sweet, but the artist’s explanation about work from this period provides some insight: In the dark days of our country, there were times when one had to live with the ‘reality’ of what one read in newspapers and saw on television screens, but when I went into my studio I did not want to paint those things. Paintings such as this one provided a sense of relief because I could escape with the sole intent of making a beautiful painting .
Esmé Berman, Art & Artists of South Africa , Halfway House, 1983, p 335
Michael Stevenson, Stanley Pinker , Green Point, 2004, pp 7 and 17