Figurative art relates to forms of art history, art that is strongly linked to reality and especially to man’s place and image within the creation.
This art form deals with terms like line, shape, light, color, shadow, mass, volume, texture and perspective. Indeed, other art forms address these issues as well, but figurative art applies them toward the creation of a sense of space and shape intended to highlight the theme.
In Ancient Greece, art was based on idealized geometric shapes. Greek artists dealt with knowledge and not a reflection of reality. The same stands true for artists of Ancient Egypt. The figures were intended to revive a shared memory and did not derive of an accurate view of reality. In classical sculpture, starting in 480 B.C., artists began to seek a balance between the perfect geometric shapes and the realistic view and, until the beginning of the impressionist period of the 19th century, figurative art attempted to create a balance between realism and idealization.
Modern figurative art uses contemporary methods, while realistic artists mostly apply methods used before the post-impressionist era. Israeli artists, such as Zvi Shor, Yochanan Simon and Ruth Shloss, are figurative artists. Another example is Natasha Briliantova, who combines excellent technique and control of the classic realistic form with the art from of the contemporary postmodern era. The same applies to Dima Gorban, who focuses on painting interior spaces and still nature, exemplifying a figurative artist who is highly proficient with the language of painting.
Actually, figurative art in its modern form is similar to the 20th century expressionism , characterized by the reality distorted by form and color, intended to reflect the artist’s emotions and ideas about reality. Picasso’s works are a good example of modern figurative art, as are – for illustrative purposes – the sculptures by Giacometti, Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud and others of the London School (such as Auerbuch, and Hockney, and Hodgkin in the U.S.), who formulated the figurative art form as we know it today. There are also figurative elements in Pop Art and neo-expressionism .
The main characteristics of abstract art are the absence of identifiable objects or figures. This art is reflected in artistic values of color, form, texture and composition and it actually reflects an abstraction and reduction of the “language of art” into its most basic forms. This style first appeared in the early 20th century, with works presented by Kandinsky and others, who put emotion at the center and expressed it through artistic gestures. The paintings reflected an abstraction of natural forms and were called “compositions”.
The various forms of abstract art are based, inter alia, on pure geometrical shapes, as in the works of Mondrian and others. They lyrical abstract form also developed at this time, placing the spotlight on the artist’s expressive expression. Examples for such art can be seen in works created by contemporary Israeli artist Artzi Lavi whose works demonstrate order, organization and free brush strokes, while controlling the material while creating turbulent and riveting color textures. He works on two-dimensional media, sometimes flat and sometimes accompanied by textures achieved through paint and sand. His work is sometimes multilayered, introducing plywood and other materials, and he sometimes creates collages consisting of photos, mosaic stones and more. Further examples including abstract works created by the “New Horizons” artists, including Avigdor Steimatzky, Yehezkel Streichman, Yacov Wechsler and Yossef Zaritsky. Another example is found in the work of Leah Nikel, characterized by fluidity and blotches. Despite using this art form, her work presence a wonderfully organized and colorful composition.
Some pieces crated by the artists mentioned in this article are on sale at Biderman Private Art Collection.
*Post impressionism is a general term used for artists who operated alongside the impressionists or slightly thereafter, rejecting certain aspects of the impressionist approach in their pursuit of new directions.
*Post modernism relates to an international philosophical and cultural perception prevalent in art, architecture and design, as of the 1980’s and until the current day.
*Expressionism – an art form founded in Germany in the early 1920’s, where the artist expressed his mood and emotions through paintings characterized by bold and quick brush strokes.
*An artistic movement that was born in the late 1950’s. Pop artist examined the mutual impact of various cultural icons using popular colors (thus the name Pop Art).
An artistic movement that was born in the 1980’s, mainly in the U.S., Italy and Germany. Neo-expressionism describes figures without the idealistic element, presenting objects in a manner that reflects the soul, the tension and the alienation felt by modern man. The neo-expressionist movement was reflected a counter response to abstract art and abstract expressionism.