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A Beautiful Gift from Andrew Stevovich

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Andrew Stevovich  Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles, 2013, Andrew Stevovich

If you follow my blog and writing, you know that Andrew Stevovich is one of my favorite American artists.  I was first introduced to Andrew’s work in 2009 when I reviewed his show at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.  It was love at first sight.  I sat on the bench in the center of the exhibit fascinated.  I even recall the conversation I had with the museum docent where we spoke about Andrew’s work, the stillness and surface aspect of it, in comparison to early-Renaissance artists, like Giotto.

A few months ago, I posted about one of Andrew’s new works, “Chocolate Truffles.”  From the moment he began posting the preliminary drawings for this work on his Facebook page, I was entranced. For me, capturing that moment before the woman puts the truffle in her mouth is representative of so many issues.  I wonder if she’s feeling guilty?  I wonder if she’s savoring the moment?  I wonder if she’s torn between desire and self-discipline?  I wonder if the truffles were a gift from a lover?

A few days ago, I received the best gift an art writer could ever get.  Andrew sent me one of the preliminary sketches of “Chocolate Truffles” (pictured here).  This lovely gift brought tears to my eyes.  First, it’s incredibly kind and thoughtful of him, and I’m finding as I get older that thoughtfulness, kindness and appreciation mean so much to me.  Second, for me as a thyroid cancer survivor who battles weight issues, there doesn’t seem to be a more perfect gift than a work that embodies the momentary dilemma between indulgence and restraint.  I fight this battle every day!   And then, there’s a little bit of the silliness factor: I just happen to love truffles.  I really do.  I used to order them from New York when I discovered I couldn’t get my favorite brand here in Florida.

As with all of Andrew’s work, what appears on the surface belies greater depth and mystery.  I love that Andrew refers to himself as an abstract painter because I really get what he means with this.  On his blog, he writes, “I’ve always said I’m fundamentally an abstract painter, that the narrative is an important level to be enjoyed or contemplated, but that it’s not the only level to see.”  I find it interesting that Andrew is a “surface” painter in the sense that he has mastered the use of oil-on-linen to such a degree that his painting is near-perfect, to the extent that it almost seems like a perfection that could be achieved with graphic design software, not the human hand.  I’m awed by this mastery.  I’m equally awed by the fact that so much goes on beyond the “surface” of Andrew’s narratives.

As an interesting coincidence, Andrew Stevovich is represented by Adelson Galleries.  Shortly after I graduated from college, I assisted Jan Adelson with an exhibit she created called, “The Idyll, The Real,” at Lyndhurst Manor in Tarrytown, NY.  She was incredibly nice and generous with me.  I’ve always remembered her fondly.   After that, I lost touch with her and didn’t hear about her, or the gallery, again until Andrew’s exhibit came here to the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

It’s funny to me how everything in life comes full circle, doesn’t it?

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Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

July 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Posted in Andrew Stevovich

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Andrew Stevovich’s “Chocolate Truffles”

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Andrew Stevovich, Chocolate Truffles, 2013, oil on linen (12″ x 7 1/4″)

One of my favorite contemporary American painters, Andrew Stevovich, recently posted this new painting, “Chocolate Truffles,” on his blog http://andrewstevovich.blogspot.com .

I like it on so many different levels.  With Stevovich’s work, I always feel to some degree like it’s a Rorschach test for what is going on inside my head, inside the head of any viewer of his work, rather than what is going on inside the artist’s head.  I’m in awe of how Stevovich manages to remain removed from, yet completely present in his inimitable style in, his own work.  Trying to figure out what his intentions are always fascinates me.  Not only is he a remarkably gifted painter, in terms of process and color, but he’s also an extremely keen visual commentator on the human condition.

About this work, Stevovich writes, “As in the first version, I kept to an analogous harmony of closely related colors. Often when I go in this direction, I’ll add a note of complementary color which can add some jump and energy to the visual experience – perhaps could have made the ribbon green or blue – but this painting wanted the quiet of staying totally focused on warmth.”  So, he keeps his focus, and ours, entirely on the process by which he paints and makes color choices.

Yet, for me, the beauty of his process is just the entry to the profound world that he creates.  For me, here in this world, a woman is plagued by a simple choice: truffle or no? But for women, food is never an easy choice.  For women, food is friend or foe.  As she pauses with the truffle, I wonder if she’s worried about breaking her diet? Or perhaps she’s paused to contemplate the beau who gave her the box as a gift?  What does the truffle represent?  What is this woman thinking?  Why did Stevovich choose this as subject matter?  What made him think of this, or other things he’s represented in his work, such as hats and subways and card players.  So, here are all the “layers” I just spoke of.  The work just keeps unfolding and revealing itself to me. However, my reveal – my response to this woman staring at a chocolate truffle – may be entirely different than yours.

How does Stevovich always make this mundane world his subjects inhabit seem so chillingly intriguing? How does he make this world so enticing, dangerous and beautiful at the same time?

It’s simple.  He’s brilliant.  He’s one of the most brilliant painters working today and I’m so glad to have found his work through my friend, Wendy Blazier, who brought his show to the Boca Raton Museum of Art a few years back.

Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

January 23, 2013 at 3:54 am

New Work by Andrew Stevovich in Boston this Fall

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I’ll be writing more extensively about Andrew Stevovich in the next month but, for now, if you’re in or near Boston, please save the date for this exhibit.  I’ve seen a lot of the new work that Andrew will be exhibiting and I’m so impressed by it and by his capacity to bring into his paintings elements that intrigue me and cause me to look and think more deeply.

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Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

August 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm