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Promethia


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#1 Newberry

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 10:56 AM

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Promethia, 1982, oil on linen,
78 x 58 inches (198.1 x 147.3 cm) Available


www.MichaelNewberry.com

I completed Promethia in 1982, when I was 26 years old, while living in Staten Island. The painting is about honoring truth, one's goodness, and beauty.

It's a large painting, over six feet, and I worked, non-stop, for about a year on it. This is one of my most important works because it marks my transition from painting what I saw to what I envisioned. The painting began from my imagination as a concept sketch on a tiny bit of paper - my ideal landscape of architecture, sculpture, and site. I had to merge four completely different subjects into an integrated whole: the landscape background was taken from a study of the desert near Palm Springs; the building is the U.C.S.D. library in La Jolla, California (its original setting was a forest of eucalyptus trees); a marble figurative sculpture (which never existed); and creating the image of the sculpture from a living model.

I loved modern architecture's ability to solve complex problems of living requirements, traffic patterns, form follows function, and it's integration to the site. But I didn't see modern architecture having much to do with the limited expression of abstract sculpture, so I wanted to show what I would love to see: a beautiful, expressive figurative sculpture set against a stunning and monumental building. Marble doesn't do to well with the grime and soot of cities, so I chose to have a vast natural landscape of the arid drama of the California desert.

A dear friend, Jennifer Trainer, posed for this. She brought a lot of character, intelligence, and sincerity to the project. Promethia is the female version of Prometheus with a twist. He was punished for giving the knowledge of fire to humanity, but I wanted change that outcome to show that self-esteem or pride in oneself protects one from being downtrodden - hence her very erect posture and level lift of her face.

At that time in my life, I was working incredibly hard to excel in figurative art. Yet I couldn't find, either in Los Angeles, or in Holland, other artists that were ahead of me in this direction, or even some artists working in this direction. I remember that in the early '80's no one bought contemporary representational work. It felt like I was the only one that believed in beautiful paintings with vision. Promethia is now (in 2009) 27 years old. And the painting is just as meaningful and beautiful to me as the day I finished it.

Michael Newberry

Promethia will be on display in the Landscape with a Modern Edge exhibition at the Newberry Gallery in Santa Monica, October 17 - November 21, 2009. It will be her first public appearance in 25 years.

Posted Image
In my Santa Monica studio, July 2009.

#2 jeffrey smith

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 06:35 PM

Promethia is exceptionally fine work: the self esteem stops just where it should before it becomes arrogance.

Can I ask what the work in progress is in the July 09 photo?
Magna est veritas et praevalebit.

#3 Newberry

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 12:14 AM

Promethia is exceptionally fine work: the self esteem stops just where it should before it becomes arrogance.

Can I ask what the work in progress is in the July 09 photo?


Hi Jeffrey,

Thanks for your comment on Promethia.

In the photo of July '09, the wip, is Moving Forward, a man coming out of gray oblivion. I want to show the kind of individual that wont take any shit from socialists.

Michael

#4 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 04:58 AM

a joy forever . . .
keep a bower quiet for us,
and a sleep full of sweet dreams
and health and quiet breathing.

#5 sbeaulieu

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 05:12 PM

Amazing piece. This I would go to see. Just the other day I went to a diner that had nothing but abstract prints. I found no meaning in it, other than my distaste for it.

On your new piece, is it all shades of gray, or is there color in it? Can't really see.

~ Shane
A coin has three sides...

#6 Newberry

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 10:19 AM

a joy forever . . .
keep a bower quiet for us,
and a sleep full of sweet dreams
and health and quiet breathing.


Guardian art.

#7 Newberry

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 10:25 AM

Amazing piece. This I would go to see. Just the other day I went to a diner that had nothing but abstract prints. I found no meaning in it, other than my distaste for it.

On your new piece, is it all shades of gray, or is there color in it? Can't really see.

~ Shane


Thanks Shane, if you are in the L.A. area give me a call and come by the gallery. 310 913 8986.

The work below, working title: Man Moving Forward, is a work in progress, wip. Here is the latest update on it. There is color where the light hits his face and hands.

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#8 Dragonfly

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 11:33 AM

Ah, the man with the big left arm.

#9 Selene

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 02:27 PM

Ah, the man with the big left arm.


Clearly a graft from the TV show The Fugitive.

I have admired your work since I first found out about it a few months into this forum. Another pleasant aspect of relocating to my beloved city was to see your work first hand...and you pull a Brooklyn Dodger move.

Hmmm maybe you are helping the producers flee the State of Kalifornia.

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#10 Newberry

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 10:59 AM

[/quote]

I have admired your work since I first found out about it a few months into this forum. Another pleasant aspect of relocating to my beloved city was to see your work first hand...and you pull a Brooklyn Dodger move.

Adam
[/quote]

Adam, its all in the timing. At some point I am sure to have an exhibition in a city near to where you live.

Michael




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