Mario Jung Artist Review
The term Impasto relates to paint that is applied to a canvas or panel in quantities that make it stand out from the surface. Impasto became popular in the art world in the 17th century with the minute and skillful details of artists such as Rembrandt and Frans Hals. In the 19th century, artist Vincent Van Gogh made the most notable use of impastos. The building up of his paint in rich and thick applications built his forms and set his work apart from any other artist. Impasto has been a favorited style ever since and utilized by artists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. The dynamic and gestural bravura of impasto emphasizes the physical qualities of the pain itself and its importance in the composition.
Starry Night, 1889
Vincent Van Gogh
Purple Rain, 2020
Mario Jung has nods to the historical past of landscape paintings in his contemporary interpretations of them. Having been born in South Korea and beginning his artistic career there, there are elements that tie his work to Asian culture such as the orderliness and symmetry in the composition. Mario sets himself apart from other landscape painters through his dramatically thick application of paint that identifies his work as Impasto. This compelling combination of landscape and impasto make three dimensional landscapes that make the viewer feel closer to the intimacy of nature.
Principals of Art:
Space: Space is created through the evolution of disappearing hillsides and distant mountains. This offers the viewer an idea of infinity and depth as the composition recedes.
Color: Bright colors are characteristic in Mario’s paintings and make every piece an eye catcher that demands the viewer’s attention. Bright pinks and yellows pop off the canvas in Cherry Blossoms while more subdued blues and greens balance them.
Shape: Shapes are clear and defined in Mario’s paintings and play a large roll in the piece’s composition. The shapes balance each other in their directionality, proportions and placement. In Cherry Blossoms note the continued vertical shapes of the trees and how they decrease in size as they recede. This decrease in the shape’s proportions adds depth as well as creating a visual pattern.
Form: Circle is to shape as sphere is to form. Value changes and the thickly applied impasto paint in Mario’s paintings transform shape to form. The tree in Cherry Blossoms literally comes out at the viewer, creating physical form as well as visual depth.
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 a mood. Deep changes in value add to the dreamlike nature of Mario’s paintings by highlighting the contrasts between shadow and light. You can see this in Cherry Blossoms with how the rows of flowers are highlighted and shadowed to appear three dimensional
Texture: Texture is perhaps the most important element in Mario’s work as it is what identifies it as his own. Paint is applied very thickly to the canvas and pops out at the viewer, true to his impasto style. This texture is very visually interesting and also adds depth due to the texture primarily being found in the foreground.
Line: Directional lines are is used in Mario’s paintings to create visual depth and to help the eye move around the canvas. In Cherry Blossoms you can see clearly how the orderly and curved lines of the flower rows lead the eye to the horizon.
Principals of Design:
Balance: A strong dominating focal point in the center if the composition is balanced through the detail and space used in remaining composition. Notice how the lower half Cherry Blossoms is highly detailed with the landscape. In contrast the flowers of the tree sit against the empty sky in the upper half of the composition. This placement of the flowers against the sky is integral to counterbalancing the detailed landscape.
Unity: The unity of a piece is what creates a sense of completeness. Mario continues his application of thick paint to other flowers in the foreground to unify the textured tree to the rest of the composition.
Variety: Variety is what adds interest into a work of art. There is variety in how the paint is applied in Mario’s paintings. As noted, the textures are mostly found in the foreground while the background is more smoothly applied, which adds variety.
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 trees in Mario’s paintings are the obvious focal points as the eye is constantly draw to them thanks to their impasto texture and bright coloration.
Movement: Movement implies motion in a snapshot of time. Mario’s work does not create a lot of movement, instead they feel like snapshots from a dream, too perfect to be real. The idea of movement is presented through the paths that can lead the eye and the viewer away and into the painting in Cherry Blossoms.
Pattern: Think of pattern as the visual skeleton that organizes the parts of a composition. This underlying structure uses consistent and regular repetition. You can have both natural and man made pattern. There is clear pattern use in Mario’s work, which nods to the Asian tradition of symmetry and aesthetically pleasing balanced compositions. In Cherry Blossoms note the patterns in the rows of flowers and how that provides a feeling of completeness and perfection.
Perspective: Perspective is what creates a three dimensional painting vs a two dimensional painting. Mario uses strong line use to show perspective as the landscape recedes from the viewer. The rows of flowers and ever narrowing path lead the eye into the distance.
Mario paints with oils on canvas, a traditional favorite for many painters. Oil paints, which are oil based as the name suggests, have a long drying time. This is advantageous to artists who will work on a piece for an extended amount of time. Oil paints are thinned down with terpenoids which can take the paint from thick and heavy to thin and light. An artist who uses oil paints learns over time their own tricks to work in a way that makes the most sense for their composition. It takes time, patience and practice to master this difficult medium.
Mario applies his paint to the canvas with a combination of the traditional brushes and other less conventional materials such as cake decorators to make the paint pop off the canvas. This impasto application of paint sets Mario apart from other artists and his ingenuity has created a style that captivates the viewer. The paint can be upward of an inch thick on the canvas which can take up to a year to dry as the oils slowly evaporate and the paint becomes stiff.
Lastly, Mario adds a varnish once his painting’s are completed and dry. The varnish will protect the oil paints to last hundred of years.