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Ivan Albright (detail) | by Martin Beek
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Ivan Albright (detail)

Ivan Albright's dark "magic realist" world seems at first totally repugnant to our modern eyes, even kitsch, more DC comic book than Raphael Cartoon. However that would be to miss the underlying seriousness of his intent as a painter of the human condition. His works are over the top baroque in every sense, decay and reminders of death are everywhere, the very paint appears to be dried blood or the crime scene of some gangland den. "Offering an uncompromising commentary on the human condition, he explored the vanitas theme -- a moralizing reminder that life's pleasures are momentary and that death is inevitable." Both Chicago's Art Institute and New York's Metropolitan Museum have afforded this artist space and an exhibition. Again his work is not really well known in Europe. I could not help but think there were some affinities with the work of Stanley Spencer, you may see some similarities in his handling of detail and his lack of any idealisation of the feminine form.

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Taken on June 27, 2010