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Fred Holle - The Painter and The Teacher, The Blessed — Marlena Yurukowa PlovdivLit

Marlena Yurukowa in PlovdivLit


Fred Holle - The Painter and The Teacher, The Blessed  5.00 / 5

The genius's works are distinguished by the quality that even when they display the meanness, even when they prove and make us feel the inevitable misery of life with obviousness, even when they express the most horrible despair- nevertheless they serve always as a comfort, light up again the enthusiasm, and let they depict nothing else than death, they return the death itself the life that has seemed to be faded for a moment.

Giacomo Leopardi


“The Blessed” is a painting by Fred Holle – the painter and Fine Art teacher who himself has been blessed with a great talent. Regarding the painter's gift as a blessing or a curse in his life, Max Beckman expressed his doubts in his journals and letters. He was not sure if the great talent is a blessing or a curse because as a figurative artist during the times of The World War I and The World War II he was a chronicler of endless tribulations and outrages. As an expressionist painter , he felt and expressed on his canvases any tragedy deeply as a personal experience of his own. And that is a difficult task and a painful experience. The same difficult task - to be “ a chronicler of our Species” (Fred Holle's own words) - has been completing by the great contemporary American painter Fred Holle . Being figurative expressionists and chroniclers of their Species, and being great Fine Art teachers, Fred Holle and Max Beckman are kindred spirits. Yet Fred Holle has not any doubts that it is “ a privilege to be an artist” and he hopes that “he has not betrayed his responsibilities regarding that Blessing”.


In his young years, Fred Holle was an abstract expressionist like the most American artists of that time. His paintings from this period reveal the strong emotions of his young sensitive soul and are creations of his intuition which the artist writes about: “I have the greatest faith in intuition and the truth it generates.” The truth that the painter's intuition generates is a poetic symbolic depiction of the mystery of life, youth, and beauty in paintings or black-white woodcuts , the most of them untitled (as there is no title for mystery).


These beautiful works have strong emotional effects on the viewers in the same way as the music evokes strong emotions in sensitive people. These are spontaneous paintings or graphics emerged in the expressionistic manner of action drawing or painting. They are expressions of the young painter's love for life and art. These beautiful abstract symbolic images completed in impasto technique were suddenly replaced by grotesque figurative paintings accomplished in the traditional painting technique of fine sable brushes. Why? The main fine art stream was the one of abstract expressionism. The juries and the audience were prepared to expect and welcome abstract, not figurative art. The painter himself writes that there was the serendipity that led to the birth of “The Gnomegame” and the use of the free hand airbrush technique with acrylic paints, and the emerging of the “Steppenwolf”. (See Fred Holle's blog articles on his Artslant profile.)


I think that besides the serendipity there was something else, something intrinsic to the great painter. It was the painter's knowledge about the truth W. Belinski (Russian art critic, 1811-1848) is talking about:


“In art, there is no greater and more fruitful object than the man.”

“Art is thinking in images.”


In my view it was the truth and honesty in art Vincent Van Gogh is talking about:

"If I had enough courage to relax freely, the article by Orie (art critic) would encourage me to risk more to get away from reality and do something with colors, something like music tones, such as the works of Monticelli, but the truth is so dear to me and also the strive to remain upright- I think really I do prefer to work with the colors like a shoemaker rather than like a musician. "(an excerpt from Van Gogh's letter from 1890)


Fred Holle's figurative works reveal the enigmatic truth about man by intriguing fantasy and masterful technique . His airbrush approach with acrylic paints “synthesizes drawing and painting into one act” (Fred Holle's own statement), and according to M.Vrubel namely this characteristic makes a painting approach to be the best one . Fred Holle's satiric works (Grotesque incidents), his works of fantasy, his drawings, his digital paintings are enigmatic and poetic, romantic and realistic, rich with images, gestures, generalized and individualized. They let the viewers think over the content, the idea and the sense of the art work, to think over themselves. They help people find ways towards themselves. These works have strong impact on viewers' mind and feelings fulfilling so the main objective of art according to J. Reynold's statement. The viewers can find and understand themselves in Fred Holle's paintings , they can find and understand other people's thoughts and feelings. Although Fred Holle's art works are created without preconceiving, there are deep contents and ideas in them conveyed masterfully. So the art works representing “horrible and ugly images” have become beautiful because “Beautiful is only the one that is serious.” (A.P.Chekhov), and the artist “has not betrayed his responsibilities regarding the Blessing” because he has created art works which are and will be always contemporary, vital and serious- qualities that according to F.M.Dostoevski's view distinguish the true art works.


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