Aleksandra Rozenvain Artist Review
Pointillism started around the 1880s with Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. Pointillism branched from the artistic movement of Impressionism into New-Impressionism. The technique relies on the ability of the eye and mind of the viewer to blend the color spots into a recognizable image. The painting technique rejects traditional brushwork using instead delineated texture to piece together the composition.
“A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande Jatte” 1884-1885
Divisionism is a more technical variant that focuses more tightly on color work as opposed to Pointillism which focuses on the specific brushwork. Robert Delaunay and Jean Metzinger painted in a Divisionist style with large square/cubes of color. They used the size and directionality of the cubes to give direction, yet the color use varied independently of size and placement.
It is a natural impulse to describe Aleksandra’s work as “cubist” due to the cubic nature of her abstraction. However, this term is incorrect as Cubism is a form of abstraction that focuses around demonstrations of different perspectives in a singular form. Pointillism is a more accurate description of Aleksandra’s style. The breaking down of the composition into squares/cubes/rectangles tricks the viewers eye into seeing a recognizable image due to the shape, size and color of each piece. Each piece is one distinct color that either works harmoniously or contrasts to those surrounding it. Aleksandra demonstrates a strong understanding of how color works scientifically to create balance, depth, perspective, and a recognizable focal point.
Principals of Art:
Space: Aleksandra’s work demonstrates space by creating more visual clarity and uniformity in the foreground and by letting colors blend and become less defined in the background. Note in Breckenridge Reflections how the mountains in the background are far less detailed than the imagery in the foreground. This change in clarity pushes the mountains back and brings the foreground towards the viewer, creating space and dimension in the composition.
Color: Aleksandra is not afraid to use bright colors like her family members. However, she chooses to balance bright pops of color against a grey scale foundation. Her color use shows restraint as she paints with colors to aid in balancing the composition and not to serve as a focal point.
Shape: Most notably, Aleksandra utilizes square and rectangular shapes as the building foundations in her compositions. Also notice however how she interjects straight horizontal and vertical lines that break up the underlying cubes. You can see this as an example on the reflective street in Breckenridge Reflections. This variation of shape will catch the eye and force it to slow down as it views the painting. To say the only shape Aleksandra uses is in her compositions is a square would be a misleading interpretation.
Form: Circle is to shape ad sphere is to form. In Aleksandra’s work, form does not relate to the squares and rectangles she uses to create her composition, but rather the three dimensional forms that are created with these cubes. For instance notice how the van in Breckenridge Reflections feels three dimensional due to the composition, placement, and values of the square shapes that compose it. These noticeable changes in value, proportion and placement give life and reality to transform from shapes to forms.
Value: Value relates to the tint/shade of a hue (color). Every color can be tinted by adding white or shaded by adding black. The purpose of considering value in a painting is to help create both dimension and to establish a mood to a painting. Aleksandra uses deep value changes to create large amounts of contrast in the painting. Notice how in Breckenridge Reflections the bright values of the reflected light pop brilliantly against the darker street in shadow. The change in value adds a sense of drama and feeling of romance on this rainy day.
Texture: Aleksandra’s texture use is subtle yet present when viewed closely. When viewed up close the viewer will see slight changes of texture where the paint was applied wet on wet. Overall however, Aleksandra does not often use extreme or noticeable texture in her work, instead preferring a smooth surface that does not distract from the composition.
Principals of Design:
Balance: Aleksandra creates balance in her paintings with a change in proportion, color and value. In Breckenridge Reflections you can see how the cool mountains and street are balanced against the warm colors of the buildings and reflections. Compositional balance is demonstrated though the human forms front right that are counterbalanced by the vehicle forms in the back left. The vehicles are larger in size but less detailed and numerous than the human forms.
Unity: The unity of a piece is what creates a sense of completeness. Aleksandra’s paintings are unified by her consistent style and color use. Note how in Breckenridge Reflections the squares and rectangles serve as the base throughout the entire composition. This continued style use unifies the painting.
Variety: Variety is what adds interest into a work of art. It is the variety of line use that creates visual variety in Aleksandra’s paintings. The changes in linear directionality catch the viewer’s eye and prompts it move around and take in every aspect of the painting. .
Emphasis: Emphasis is what the artist uses to create a focal point. Focal points can vary viewer to viewer, but a truly successful composition will have one clear focal point that the eye is continually drawn to over and over again. The focal point in Breckenridge Reflections is the couples in the right foreground. The bright warm colors, fine detail, and visual clarity draw the eye to the couples and reinforces the feeling of romance in the painting.
Movement: Movement implies motion is a snapshot of time. Although none of the figures in Breckenridge Reflections are moving, they give the appearance of walking toward the viewer down the street. The directionality of the vehicles also creates movement by subconsciously reminding viewers of their purpose and utility. Movement also applies to the artist’s visual cues that are established to prompt the eye to move around the composition. Aleksandra achieves this though changes in linear directionality.
Pattern: Think of pattern as the visual skeleton that organizes the parts of a composition. This underlying structure uses consistent and regular repetition that is pleasing to the eye. You can have both natural and man made pattern. In Breckenridge Reflections notice how the pattern of the buildings create a visual repetition that lead the eye down the street.
Perspective: Perspective is what creates a three dimensional painting vs a two dimensional painting. Alexandra utilizes the classic model of perspective and creates an illusion of space and dimension with the disappearing diagonal line use of the city street. The decreasing proportions down the street reflect realistic visual perspective and give the painting dimension and depth.
Aleksandra paints with acrylic on canvas. Acrylic is a water based paint that is quick drying and very sturdy. Most artists start off with using acrylics before transitioning to oils, however acrylics have made a huge comeback in Fine Art. Due to it’s quick drying nature, the artist can layer distinctly different colors over one another in a short period of time, which is advantageous for artist’s who paint quickly. Canvas, which is the preferred surface for many painters, is most noticeably different than paper or panel because of it’s “bounce”. The cloth or linen is stretched across a wooden frame and often left open in the back, creating a soft backed surface that can bounce under pressure. It takes skill for an artist to paint on an open back canvas surface, but once an artist becomes comfortable with it, it can be hard to transition back.