Riopelle is overrated, and why I love the abstract paintings of John Kissick
We all know Art is subjective, and each person has their own taste when it comes to the art they appreciate. However, some artists have gained a reputation that goes beyond their actual merit. One such artist in my mind is Jean-Paul Riopelle. Although he is considered a master of abstract art, I believe that his paintings are overrated. In contrast, John Kissick’s abstract paintings are stronger and more deserving of attention. Overrated Art: Riopelle vs. Kissick in this post, I will quantify my opinion on both artists and explain why I think Kissick is a better abstract painter than Riopelle.
Overrated Art: The Riopelle painting itself felt like a giant shadow hovering
I remember the first time I experienced a Jean-Paul Riopelle painting up close. It was when I walked into the home of an art collector of my work, only to be greeted by an immense Riopelle on the entry wall. The size was impressive, though the painting itself felt like a giant shadow hovering over me, it was not a welcoming experience. Further into their home, an entire room dedicated to small works by Riopelle, while less daunting, certainly not something that stirred my soul. Riopelle was a Canadian artist who became famous in the mid-20th century. He was part of the Automatistes movement, which was a group of artists who aimed to create art that was free from rational thought and conventional techniques. Riopelle’s paintings were characterized by large, bold strokes of color, often applied with a palette knife or trowel. His style was influential in the abstract expressionism movement, and he is considered one of Canada’s most important artists. However, despite his reputation, I believe that his paintings are overrated, compositions muddy and depressing.
Riopelle’s paintings are flat and lack the layering and texture that can make abstract art truly engaging. While his works are visually striking, they do not offer much in terms of emotional or intellectual engagement. Riopelle’s paintings are often compared to landscapes, and while they do have a sense of space and movement, they lack the complexity and depth of a true landscape. Another reason why I think Riopelle’s paintings are overrated is that they lack originality. While he was part of a movement that aimed to break free from conventional techniques, Riopelle’s paintings feel formulaic. They are all variations on a theme, with the same bold strokes of color applied in the same way. There is no sense of experimentation or risk-taking in his work. Riopelle’s paintings feel safe and predictable, which is not what you would expect from an artist who was part of a movement that aimed to push boundaries.
With Kissick my heart and mind were set ablaze.
I remember the first time I encountered the paintings of John Kissick. I attended the solo exhibition of his works at the Kelowna Art Gallery in 2011, the show titled, ‘A Nervous Decade’. I remember walking into the room and for the first time really connecting to an abstract painting. There was depth, dimension, colour, and movement in these pieces. I was feeling a range of emotions, and my heart and mind were set ablaze. In contrast, John Kissick’s abstract paintings are stronger and more deserving of attention. Kissick is a contemporary Canadian artist who has been working in the field of abstract art for over 30 years. His paintings are characterized by a sense of movement and depth, with layers of color and texture that draw the viewer in. Kissick’s work is original and experimental, with each painting offering something new and unexpected.
One reason why Kissick’s paintings are stronger than Riopelle’s is that they offer more depth and complexity. Kissick’s paintings are not just visually striking, but they also offer an emotional and intellectual engagement. Kissick’s paintings are not just about the surface; they invite the viewer to explore the layers beneath. Another reason why Kissick’s paintings are stronger than Riopelle’s is that they are more original. While Kissick’s work is rooted in the tradition of abstract art, he takes risks and experiments with new techniques and approaches. His paintings are not formulaic; each one is unique and offers something new. Kissick’s work is unpredictable and surprising, which is what you would expect from an artist who is pushing the boundaries of the genre.
In conclusion, while Jean-Paul Riopelle is considered a master of abstract art, I believe that his paintings are overrated. They lack depth and originality, and while they are visually striking, they do not offer much in terms of emotional or intellectual engagement. On the other hand, John Kissick’s abstract paintings are stronger and more deserving of attention. As a Canadian artist, I recognize the importance of both artists work to the genre of abstract painting and putting Canadian Art on the International Art scene. For my art collection, I would put my art investment dollars into an original John Kissick painting. I want to dive into his paintings and swim around for a while, that’s how much they move me.