What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.—Henri Matisse
Not everything that influences an artist, or a photographer, is art, or artistic. In the realm of full disclosure, I must admit that I am writing this morning under the heavy influence of a very good night’s sleep. I’m only half-way through my first cup of coffee and the influence of the sleep is that I’m not quite as focused and am having a little more difficulty finding the words I want. Imagine trying to get around without your eyeglasses; that’s what is influencing my writing at this moment. If I were to pick up the camera, to capture a picture of Kat lounging on the couch next to me, that same influence would pour over into my image, probably in terms of a soft focus and a higher key on the lighting.
Henri Matisse was born in a most modest home of a weaver in the very North of France, right along the Belgian border. Winters there were extremely cold and the young Matisse was rather thin and frail. His mother influenced his early vision of women, with a full bust and hips, narrow waist, slender legs and small feet. We can see that influence remaining in his work all the way through to his cut outs. She also provided influence in her work with color, mixing house paints and helping customers decide what combinations would look best in their homes.
John Peter Russell may have had the greatest art-world influence on Matisse, however, for it was Russell that introduced him to the concepts and works of Impressionism. One can see an almost immediate change in Matisse’s work. He went from dark toned still-life to brighter, more colorful settings. Not that this pleased the established art world. Matisse’s first masterpiece, The Dinner Table, was completed during this period and when first exhibited was given poor placement because of ” what they considered its radical, Impressionist aspects.”
So, the chain of influence goes on and grows long. Could we dare begin to count the number of contemporary artists, photographers, and designers who have in some way been influenced by Matisse’s work? Certainly, unapologetically, the work we are displaying here is a direct derivative of his late-period cut-outs. And, we can hope to assume, what we present here has a soothing, calming influence on someone else, who interprets in yet another fashion And so, the art moves forward.