DVD Review: Simon Schama- The Power of Art

Simon Schama's, The Power of Art is a three disc series that explores key artists from the Renaissance through the era of Modern Art. The series is by far the most insightful, well told and well done of any art series I have seen. Simon Schama is an outstanding story-teller, who intrigues us at the beginning of each segment with a particular keystone painting by the artist, and then sets forth from the beginning of the artist's career to weave a complete story of art and creator. There are several other factors that make this series so compelling.

For starters, Schama has chosen a variety of artists: Disc 1 features Carravagio, Bernini and Rembrandt; Disc 2 has David, Turner and Van Gogh; Disc 3 with Picasso and Rothko. Each artist's story begins with a piece you may or may not be familiar with. The narratives are supported by wonderful details of the artwork itself, dramatic story lines, character acting and on-location shots to really help the viewer immerse them self into the artist's world.

An interesting point to mention is though Schama certainly respects all the artists and work shown here, it doesn't necessarily mean he likes all of them. That said, he never lets his own opinions get in the way of revealing each individual's significance in the greater context of art and history. His passion for the arts is contagious.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the series, learning more about artists I wasn't all that familiar with and learning more still about those I thought I knew a great deal of. I appreciate what Simon Schama has done as an historian and story-teller, and truly look forward to seeing more work produced by him and The BBC.

What It Is

I am in the process of revising my portolio, which contains not only images of my work, but supporting documentation such as a resume, biography and artist statement describing my work. This has been a frequent process for me in the last two years, as my paintings have evolved and the distinction of my work becomes more pronounced and intentional. With this emerging clarity comes the ability for me to better describe my work through words.

Earlier in my career, I was mostly influenced by Picasso and Cubism with some of my jazz pieces, so I was calling myself a Neo-Cubist. As I learned more about color, however, my influence shifted to the Impressionists (Monet and Pissarro come to mind). So, for the past year, I've been calling myself an Impressionist, but that didn't seem to be an accurate description for very long either. The Impressionists worked from nature, attempting to capture the effects of light. I realized my art does not reflect the aims of the Impressionists, as I mainly work in my studio, largely using my imagination and intuition to generate my compositions.

My paintings are narrative work based off perceptions of reality and recollections from my imagination. I distort the subject matter to fit within the dimensions of a canvas to tell my story. As I see it, my philosophy is most in line with what is called Expressionism. I am therefore calling my work Contemporary Expressionism, as I feel it most accurately describes what I do.