• A Humanist Vernacular

    Date posted: July 29, 2011 Author: jolanta

     

    I am primarily interested in the symbolic content of images. I use objects and scenes familiar to me from my home and neighborhood. The images are embellished from memory and imagination. These settings, along with the formal elements of value, texture, and form, especially symmetry, are combined to expresses my feelings about my surroundings. I see the oft-overlooked areas of life as special and important. My goal is to portray these scenes as unique, mysterious, mystical, and even miraculous.

    “I see the oft-overlooked areas of life as special and important. My goal is to portray these scenes as unique, mysterious, mystical, and even miraculous.”

     

    John Hrehov, Gate, 2009. Charcoal on Paper, 19 x 14.5 inches. Courtesy of Denise Bibro Fine Art, Inc., New York.

    John Hrehov, The Visit (for AH), 2009. Charcoal on Paper 18 x 18 inches. Courtesy of Denise Bibro Fine Art, Inc., New York.

    A Humanist Vernacular

    John Hrehov

    I am primarily interested in the symbolic content of images. I use objects and scenes familiar to me from my home and neighborhood. The images are embellished from memory and imagination. These settings, along with the formal elements of value, texture, and form, especially symmetry, are combined to expresses my feelings about my surroundings. I see the oft-overlooked areas of life as special and important. My goal is to portray these scenes as unique, mysterious, mystical, and even miraculous.

    The technique is slow and deliberate, working to create an optical mixing of values using charcoal on paper. My technique owes a debt of gratitude to the drawings of George Seurat as well as to Op painter Julian Stanczak, with whom I studied in Cleveland.

    “Reality is inelegant. It lacks focus and composition, it’s haphazard and diffuse, and can seem too random and just a small nudge away from chaos. But art! Art can take reality (it doesn’t have to, of course, but it can) and re-present it as a site of order and logic, as a manifestation of the human mind and/or spirit, rectilinear, symmetrical, reasoned, at peace. Artists such as John Hrehov do that, they live in the same world we all do, but they sense secret and underlying harmonies most of us miss, they are drawn to construct moments of exquisite equipoise, and create those vignettes where the simple becomes the profound, where the things we see every day suddenly become so fraught with possibilities and meaning that they become poetry. People are almost never present in Hrehov’s work; however, there is really nothing else to call him but a humanist, an artist who sees the trappings of the human drama potentially embedded in everything around him, who can make a window sill seem an altar where anything is possible and can turn a garden sprinkler into an onrush of spirit.” An Appreciation by James Yood, 2009.

    “Hrehov, like Wood, may be a regionalist, but he understands the universal appeal of nature, and something that Wood never needed to understand: nature’s poignancy in a sterile suburban environment, which is less a region with a character of its own than an anonymous place.” John Hrehov’s Dry Wit by Donald Kuspit, 2001.

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