Christian Vincent: “Certain Uncertainties” 1997
California is the backdrop and the influence for this talented living artist. Born in 1966 in Santa Monica, California and still living there, Christian Vincent, 42, has amassed collectors and interest in his realist paintings from every corner of the world.
You won’t find a picture of Christian Vincent on the internet – I know, I tried, but you will find many of his paintings in galleries and museums and auction records, although, you won’t find any information about the painting in question for this article. All I was able to find was the name of the painting, the year it was supposedly painted, and of course, the fact that Christian Vincent is the artist. Many people have been enamored by the painting on the wall during the heated scene on the stairway between Pierce Brosnan and Renee Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair – I know I was, and the painting just drew me in even further. A great scene in one of my favorite movies, the love scene will make you hate Renee Russo for looking so good for a woman in her 40s.
I would love to know how Christian Vincent’s painting managed to find its way onto the big screen, and maybe someday we will know. I’m sure that living in California was a big plus.
At first glance, you may be amused by Christian Vincent’s contemporary realist paintings of businessmen and women in almost dreamlike interiors or somehow lit by an underlying fire. I sense that there is a political message involved in the composition of his paintings. Vincent uses rich dark tones to accentuate the light effects in his paintings, making the images jump off the canvas.
Christian Vincent is the Edward Hopper of the 21st century. Whereas Edward Hopper’s paintings provide a sense of lonliness and separation, Vincent’s paintings make you think and question the very intent of the artist – What is the message here? I would welcome the opportunity to get into the head of this artist and discover the very things that inspire him to paint the subjects we find so intriguing.
“Shelter” 2001, 80x68 inches, Oil on Canvas, made me laugh – if for no other reason than seeing Senator Kennedy lying under the table of this young woman who has apparently been taken advantage of and is reading – what is she reading? Why the window and the deep, rich red walls? Why is he under the table? Is he hiding from the truth? Hey Vincent! How about answering some questions here!
I’ve also noticed that his paintings are not small. They’re not large either. They are huge! Talk about covering some canvas! Vincent creates mural size paintings on canvas. That, in and of itself, grabs your attention.
“Spilled Milk” 2001, 78x84 inches, Oil on Canvas, is equally interesting. Here stands an elderly and distinguished gentleman / businessman / politician trying to decide if he should cry over spilled milk.
We all know what it means to have an elephant in the room. Well, here he is in all his glory. “Three’s a Crowd” 2002, 80x100 inches, Oil on Canvas (below) So, what’s the elephant? We can only guess, right?
In the Bibliography for “Christian Vincent at Forum – Brief Article” Art in America. Oct. 2001, Gerrit Henry states: “the artist Vincent most closely resembles is not a painter at all but the early- to mid-20th-century novelist Sinclair Lewis. Like Lewis, with his knowing savagings of all things American, Vincent is, at bottom, a social commentator. If Vincent's points are not as sharply drawn as Lewis's, nor his moral outrage as neatly presented, he shares with the author of Babbitt a deep and perplexed love of his country worked out in a melodrama of purely native characters and situations.
“......In Vincent's work, the clothes and settings are nonspecific 20th century, and there is plenty of aborted narrative. This is particularly notable in the giant oil-on-linen triptych, Cockfight (1999). - (Note: Cannot find an image of this painting) - On the side panels, curving architectural moldings loom above business-suited men clutching martinis and scraps of paper. In the central panel, elevated on an unseen platform, two youthful boxers are beating the hell out of each other as a group of seated and standing men watch from all sides, those directly before them silhouetted by the light on the fighters. Vincent's title leaves enormous room for doubt as to the nature of the fight (no roosters are in sight); the genteel setting and the impacted violence shout the artist's feeling about such dubious athletics.......
Every moralist painter from the Renaissance on has had his Icarus. Vincent's is losing feathers as he glides into a placid, even welcoming sea. But the artist turns to the classics less than he makes classics of the modern. Fatigue and guilt can be read all over the face of a man in a suit seated beside a chest of drawers, staring at his own face in the mirror atop the dresser, briefcase at his side on the floor, a telltale woman's leg, bare, at the edge of the bed nearby. In his 2000 work the man is caught “One Foot Out” of a shoe--in adultery, perhaps. Nothing much, we sense, to write home about, although perhaps enough to cry about later. Like so many social commentators before him, the gifted Vincent makes a strong case for examining what's going on around us.” (Note: Cannot find an image of this painting).
Without question, Christian Vincent is a very talented artist “who applies contemporary narrative themes in a film-noir palette” (Forum Gallery). Vincent has had many sold-out exhibitions in New York, Chicago, Atanta, and of course, California.
A bit about Vincent’s education: He studied at The Brentwood Art Center, The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and The California Art Institute in Valencia. He was awarded the prestigious First Julius Hallgarten Prize in the 169th Annual Exhibition at The National Academy of Design, New York. In 1998, Christian Vincent was included in the Arnot Art Museum’s "Re-presenting Representation III" in Elmira, New York. He was also commissioned to create an artwork for the NASA Space Program’s Art Collection celebrating its achievements.
Christian Vincent’s work is included in several prominent private collections internationally. He was recently included in the "Contemporary Realism" group show at Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA.
He recently was given a one-man exhibition by Ars Vivendi, a prominent gallery in Munich, Germany. He is presently included in the current “Representing LA, a major exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, WA.
Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Forum Gallery, NY, NY
Jason McCoy Inc., NY, NY
Mike Weiss Gallery, NY, NY
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore.
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand—
How few! Yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! Can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
—Edgar Allan Poe