Apr 242008

Cindy Revell is a Canadian painter and illustrator who has worked for several well known companies and publications and creates art in a variety of genres and trends: illustration, functional art and realist oil paintings. Most of her oil works depict still life, and only occasionally a portrait or a landscape. You will find a rich collection of digital reproductions on her website and her artist portfolio in the Candle Art Gallery. I would recommend reading the oil painting process section of her website as well as her blog for some textual inspiration and more visual works as well. Her art listing at Painter’s Keys website is another great resource. Cindy Revell may boast a strong online presence — something I believe every artist should aspire to.


Arguably the most elaborate painterly element in Cindy Revell’s oeuvre is space. Subjects in her still life works spread on well-defined platforms, sculpted with light effects that may seem surprisingly intricate for small or even medium-sized paintings. But looking at her illustrations or covers for children’s books reveals a reversal to flat two dimensionality, or images where the illusion of space is only rudimentary — a result of certain “simplifications,” appropriate for children’s minds. It indeed may seem that the realistic oil pieces have been painted by another artist, so different they appear from the illustrations. The painter’s ability to fully immerse herself in a specific genre is almost uncanny.


Space takes on an additional spin in furniture art such as these trunk decorations and paintings. These boxes separate space, the artwork literally defining and encasing it in a three dimensional ambiance. I think that this twist is symbolical of the artist’s ability to shape space (in realist works as well) and of her continuous dialog with it, or conversation, if you will. It may appear as if the painter is consulting with space while working — much like people consult each other while discussing the color with which to paint a room during repairs — and lets its voice be heard and reverberated.


The images endear themselves to the viewer: playful and colorful, they also evoke a whole series of associations with similar art forms. The artist mentions wall art; there are also the bas-relief sculptures, amphora drawings and so on. Each plate contains a cultural microcosm — an Indian jungle reminiscent of Kipling’s tales, or a snapshot of Italian cuisine, its recipes and the art of food preparation. Quick, sharp movements and a rainbow of colors attract the eye at first, highly dynamic compositions and multitude of detail entertain it after the first impression subsides. But possibly the most rewarding aspect of this kind of art is the ability to touch it and literally sense it with our fingers. It panders to this childish instinct to sense and feel various objects — and eventually indulges it too.

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