john hemmen art

Statement for Figurative Paintings

Figurative works are a staple of painting.  They are an attempt to show the form as it appears to the eye.  Human forms are represented most often because artists are generally anthropocentric.  They are human, they deal daily with humans, they are taught in school to depict humans, and so they render their visions of humans willingly.  I am no different.

In my figurative works I have tried various ways to depict the human form.  Some of my works are more realistic, others more abstract, some are more tightly rendered, others more expressionistic.  I get bored with trying to paint figures the same way so I experiment with the depiction, and sometimes this leads to a successful work.  Despite the variety of these depictions, I believe a general style shows through this experimentation.

I have divided my figurative works into 3 categories:  Portrait, General, and Figure in Landscape.

My portrait works are usually the traditional presentation of the bust, the face down to the shoulders.  Most use an abundance of color to help frame the features and expression. Most are self portraits or women.
My general figurative works feature the figure in a more full body pose, intermingled with other figures, or set within a landscape but with the landscape being the background.  These works are more narrative.
dog painting

Figure in Landscape
My figure in landscape works show the figure within the landscape, with the landscape usually being the main part of the work.  These works are narrative like the general figurative works.

Within this category are a group of works I call “Searching for the Way”.  The process of searching is a continuing quest of mankind.  We are always looking for a path to something better, greater, easier, happier, different.  So in these works the figure is in the landscape and looking, walking, going somewhere, searching.  There is restlessness.  The landscape is some place the figure is encountering, dealing with, navigating, passing through on to the next place or challenge.  The landscape is the jungle, the road, the labyrinth, the city.  The environment is featured in these works but the quandary is in the figure.  My city series of works continues to deal with this issue.