The challenge of the contemporary artist is to make a worthwhile contribution in the era in which he lives. For artists like Max R. Scharf, an additional challenge is to take what is best and strongest in the past and bring it convincingly into the present.
Max R. Scharf has aligned himself with the great Expressionist tradition, specifically Van Gogh and the Fauve painters. Scharf has determined that he can make a solid contribution to the art world by following the examples of the giants of art and pouring his temperament into the form and patterns of his mentors. Like Cezanne and Courbet - who believed that, above all, an artist should reveal “temperament”and the personal dimension in his work - Scharf emerges as a serious contender.
Given the choices the contemporary artist has before him, we can appreciate the fact that Scharf has chosen the highest standards of artistic integrity to follow. He is a passionate and talented man who takes on noble subjects and approaches them with the reverence and commitment that we associate with the best art has to offer.
Volumes have been written about color in which we have been shown that color is a vehicle of great expressive value: and a great colorist is worthy of our attention. Scharf has the ability to exploit color for color’s sake; and this, fused with timeless subject manner and expression, makes his work riveting and potent. These contributions are deeply felt, which is why viewers of his works are moved and engaged.
Scharf’s power to bring passion and subjectivity to his art is laudable. He also approaches his subjects using acrylic paint and the brilliant ranges of contemporary pigments. The fact is that Scharf brings a very unique pattern of form and personal interpretation of space to his genre. In his work we see the mastery a serious painter must have of structure and the ability to merge color and brush strokes into patterns that work pictorially. Scharf is unusually capable of keeping his visual ends and means clearly before him. Where other painters succumb to the mannerism of style for style’s sake, he avoids the temptation by returning to solid fundamentals.
Scharf is a serious and gifted artist who has a remarkable ability for touching his viewers deeply. He is a fine draftsman and color craftsman who has studied for years and continues to push himself to make more and better works. He is to be respected, for he is capable of extraordinary things; and those fortunate enough to see and appreciate his merits are fortunate indeed.
William Havlicek is an art editor,
former museum curator and
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