Rob Elphinstone grew up in
Calgary, Canada, and spent his youth travelling about the world. He went to Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation of the country acting as a photographer with "Doctors without Borders" (MSF). For months he wandered through the Hindu Kush mountains with the mujahedin experiencing first hand what it feels like to be under attack in a war.
(click here for
Photographs of this trip).
He worked in space physics for many years, researching the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) both from the ground and from satellites in space. He has authored more than 50 publications
(Click here for references) on the northern lights including review articles and has lectured extensively throughout the world. The beauty of the northern lights allowed some artistic interpretation to overlap into his scientific work.
Rob lives with his wife and two children in Nanaimo on Canada's west coast where they cherish the beautiful climate and scenery that inspire his paintings. He divides his time between being a stay-at-home dad and an artist.
He specializes in capturing the beauty of the Canadian west coast through his textured wild flowing landscapes.
His art reflects the belief that our senses reveal only a shadow of what we truly experience.
Rob believes that the beauty of a place is hardly ever replicated in a photo or a video.
Our senses take in a fraction of what we perceive about the world. This tiny
fraction is the shadow of what is really there. Good art should not have to be
about what the inner psyche experiences or displaying perfectly what is
optically there but should be about the unseen reality that everyone feels.
Every one of his art pieces reflects the premise that creative art stems from
what is truly evident in nature rather than the shadow that can be
photographed. The term "Actualism art" is used to distinguish this
art form from the emotionally based "expressionism" trend. Reality
is more than just the sum our emotional impressions and the sense impressions of
an external scene. The realism art discipline attempts to capture the latter
and expressionism the former. Some Actualism art works from the belief that
the only true art is the object itself. Rob Elphinstone's version of Actualist
art allows that the observer can interpret the "actual" and create
works that capture the essence of the observed in a fundamental way. True art
captures the essence of reality rather than focusing on composition, technical
prowess, or reproducing a precise scene.
The process of laying down textured
brushstrokes helps capture the elusive nature so evident when we look outside.
The textured brushstrokes give the paintings a unique look. This texture is
laid down as a pastel underpainting which unifies my work and allows vibrant
colour to be applied on top. This technique yields a complexity that mimics
nature and that permeates every portion of the pieces he creates.
From a distance, the painting comes together through form as a coherent
whole, but each portion catches the eye in a manner that draws the viewer into
“… I see the Vincent influence, but your
art evokes the
brushwork of Soutine (Click here) and I see a distinct passionate style
influenced by nature… This man's art is going to find a huge public appreciation
in the future.” – W. Matthews, a Vancouver collector
The definition given above is closer to
philosophical actualism rather than the
original view of Actualism art which can be found at:
This view associated with revolutionary influences is given below:
Term first employed by French writer ALAIN JOUFFREY to account for the effect of revolutionary situtations on art, for instance during the Paris riots in May 1968.
During such events the division between art and social reality ceases to exist, and its significance or irrelevance is made manifest.
A Jouffrey, 'What's to be Done about Art', Art and Confrontation: France and the Arts in an Age of Change (London, 1970)
Tretyakov Gallery hosted a large-scale exhibition called “Associates –
Collective and Interactive Works in the Russian Art of the 1960s-2000s” as
part of the 1st Moscow Biennale of Modern Art.
The exhibition featured a wide variety of genres and techniques of the so-called
actualist art: painting, graphics, sculpture, application, objects,
installations, photography and much more, which create a parallel world
challenging the official Soviet art.
additional manifesto for actualism art is given by
David Brown at:
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