Essay | The Love Story - Auguste Blackman


The Love Story - Auguste Blackman - Angela Tandori Fine Art Gallery

Auguste Blackman’s current exhibition, The Love Story explores the psychological need for love and it’s discord in light of recent changes in his life. Blackman has been married for twenty years to wife Andrea, with six children and many grandchildren. As his last child leaves home, Auguste and Andrea are faced with each other in their empty nest. This shift has encouraged him to reflect on his relationships and have made way for the creation of his newest series of paintings.

One of the works featured within the show, Love Story, 2014, depicts two figures holding a nest of flowers. This is representative of Blackman’s family home. The merging of the figures and faces together creates a third realm, much like a Venn Diagram. The shared area expresses the encompassment of himself and his wife, symbolically representing their marriage. Overall the work portrays a dreamy vision of what many relationships strive to accomplish.

Duet No.2, 2014 similarly shows a positive connection between two people as their gazes meet in the center of the canvas. While the figures could almost be blending into one, they have been painted in contrasting tones to show their distinct identities. In this painting, there is a suggestion that the warm tones radiating from the figure on the left are seeping into the individual on the right. This enlightenment could perhaps be the need for love and belonging being fulfilled in his life that has been suggested psychological theory. In 1943 a prominent American psychologist called Abraham Maslow put forth a theory called 'Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’. After our basic requirements for health and safety, Maslow believes, comes the need for love and belonging.

The journey towards the dreamy vision and and the fulfillment of our needs is often not all harmonious. Blackman’s paintings, or “little essays” aim to “capture the love and fight in one frame”.

In contrast to the idyllic repose of Love Story, the painting Mr and Mrs, 2014 distorts the shared space with a confronting intensity. The figures are enveloped by hostility, hostages to the psychological challenges that inevitably arise with intimacy. The female casts her eyes resignedly downward, the red flush to her cheek depicting heightened emotion. The male, represented in blue, recoils to the background with eyes fixed on his partner. Their interaction strikes a chord of disharmony, immediately apparent.

In some ways Blackman’s paintings evoke similar feelings to that of Rene Magritte’s 1928 series, The Lovers. This famous example of French Surrealism is often described as a touching display of intimacy with the gentle drapery of the fabric and serene landscape. Though within this facade lies a hint of mystery and darkness as the uncertainty under the fabric becomes more urgent against the quiet background.

 

The Love Story is testament to Blackman’s poetic and passionate personality. Through his expressive, delicate painting style he shares personal experiences of love and union. The exhibition The Love Story runs from Saturday the 25th of October until Thursday the 13th of November 2014.