Monday, September 14, 2009

Sidways Glance by Malcolm Liepke

Image taken from Arcadia Gallery Web Site

When I first saw this piece I was hypnotized. It caught my eye while I was rifling through the magazine stand at a Barnes and Noble. She was on the front cover of American Art Collector, which is not a mag I typically indulge in, so I desperately persuaded myself not to buy the issue, and walked out of the store. I exited the mall, and carried on with my daily business. However, much to my dismay the painting haunted me. For hours I felt regret for having not snatched up the publication. Over the next three hours this woman's image and I developed an emotional relationship.
Why was her face burned into my brain? It's simple really. The artist of the piece is Malcolm Liepke. I'd read about him about a year or two earlier, and was intrigued with his style, but now, because of the new direction he was taking, I had grown obsessed. Needless to say I returned to the store, found the most pristine copy (not the copy everyone mistreats on top of the pile with the bend pages and the torn cover, and definitely not the one behind that, which get's second-hand mistreatment, the one in the back...the virgin literary treasure), and purchased it.
I bought the magazine for reasons only a psychologist could explain. What I can convey is how the painting captivates me still as I reflect on it over two months later. To me, that defines great art. Great art can lock in a viewer, no matter if they like the piece or not...the artist wins.
In this case the artist is Liepke. His pieces in the past usually have had narrative atmospheres, and generally contain more than one subject. In his new work Liepke has zoomed in, cropped, and simplified to achieve a collection of portraits that convey not only clear emotions, but a strong cohesiveness as an entire collection. They were exhibited in New York, New York at the Arcadia Gallery, , from July 23rd through August 6th.
In his 48'' x 48'' oil painting, Sideways Glance, the artist, in my opinion, strikes gold. The focal point of the painting are the subject's eyes, that sensually gaze back at the viewer. Her pale face is framed by a mop of careless brown hair, as her arm gracefully closes off the left side of the piece. Liepke has stripped the image down to the components that are most essential to captivate a viewer. His new artistic deviation has not only gained him new fans and collectors, but also new buzz... and no press is bad press.


  1. Wow. The way you described the painting was very intriguing. Describing the work in a setting shows your passion about the work. Putting the description along with the narrative was very effective. I think I might try that next time.

  2. I totally agree with you about the stripped down components. The strokes are beautifully expressive on their own, but he has things like the hand and the eyes just realistic enough to get us realism nerds all antsy. Really nice find Angie.

  3. Great description of your experience with the piece. How it followed you home. I always know what my students’ breakthrough piece is because I think about it all week long. Good external information about the artists, and great image. I have to agree – that is some beautiful rendering of paint. Those eyes are like liquid on the canvas.


    Blog title: Sideways glance at Malcolm Liepke
    The extreme tonal shift in the face is really interesting. This reminds me
    of something an old drawing teacher of mine said about realism. “Do you
    want to give all the facts, or just tell a good story.” Something to think