Thursday, June 16, 2016

Third Thursday Semi-Finals: Varo v. Hopper!

Third Thursday: Bringing big names to your mid-month!

This is the sixth-ever Fifth Round match -- there will only be sixteen of them -- and it's the first to feature an artist from the Play-In Tournament.  Ms. Varo is also the first woman and the first artist from Latin America to make it to this lofty height.  She will presumably face stiff competition against Edward Hopper, who has staunch fans of his own.

Remedios Varo
1908 - 1963
Spanish; worked in Mexico
Her paintings are carefully drawn, making the astonishing stories or mystic legends especially convincing. Rejecting the male-dominated language of Surrealist doctrine, Varo often painted magnificent heroines busy with alchemical activities. A delicate figure may spin and weave tiny threads transforming them into musical instruments or fashion them into paintings of small birds. The settings are often medieval tower rooms equipped with occult laboratory devices. Figures wearing tattered garments may emerge from a forest of withered trees.... Varo borrowed from Romanesque Catalan frescoes and medieval architecture, mixed nature and technology, and combined reality and fantasy to create worlds that elude time and space. - National Museum of Women in the Arts
  • Finished First in Phase 1, Flight 3 of the Play-In Tournament with a voting score of .917.
  • Finished First in Phase 2, Flight 1 of the Play-In Tournament with a voting score of .500.
  • Beat André Beauneveu in Round 1.
  • Defeated Katsushika Hokusai in Round 2.
  • Thumped Dutch Master Pieter De Hooch in Round 3.
  • Crushed Andō Hiroshige in a Round 4 11-1 blowout.

Edward Hopper
1882 - 1967
By the late 1920s, Hopper developed his mature style, characterized by depictions of lonely urban and small town scenes in which there may be only a few silent, solitary figures. Often he shows only the drab architecture, devoid of human life. Hopper’s vision of the American scene was one of alienation and anxiety. His life and art were remarkably consistent: a very private person, he endowed the figures in his paintings with a similar sense of detachment. Hopper divided his time between a small apartment in New York’s Greenwich Village and trips to New England, continuing to synthesize and distill his observations of contemporary life into hauntingly familiar scenes. - The Phillips Collection
  • Took out French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon in Round 1.
  • Knocked Raoul Dufy into the Left Bracket in Round 2.
  • Had a solid victory over Ingres in Round 3.
  • Beat Frida Kahlo in Round 4 by a respectable margin.


Alex said...

Remedios Varo

Christine M. said...

Remedios Varo

Unknown said...

I like them both, but my vote goes to Varo.

Morgan said...

Varo. There are a number of reasons I really like her art.

People often talk about an artist's ability to provide a sense of space. I get that with Varo: not large spaces, as is generally the case when the praise is raised, but small spaces that can seem either cozy or constricting depending on the painting. I think the effect really works.

A sense of whimsy pervades her paintings in a way that doesn't remove from the seriousness of the art: less "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and more "Once and Future King". This avoids the trap of pretentiousness that is often present in surrealism, without going too far in the other direction and making the art cartoonish.

Finally, I really like the use of texture.

Ben said...

I wish I didn't have to choose, but since I do, I'm going to choose Hopper.

pfly said...

Had much trouble deciding here. Googled for more paintings and, as happened a few times before, got lost checking out lots of Varo paintings. There's a bunch I quite like. Hopper of course has great color and light, and that somewhat odd sense of detachment. But I feel like other painters had done similar things with color (like Thomas Hart Benton) and odd detachment (de Chirico, though odder), and Hopper kinda just added a stripped down "international style" kind of vibe.

Of course Varo is also reminiscent of other artists. And her paintings don't "pop" the way Hopper's do. Maybe she isn't as good a painter, technically speaking. Still, I get sucked in to some of her paintings, in a way I just don't with Hopper.

In other words, I'm going with Varo again. It was a tougher choice this time though.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

I'm going with the first guy and 100% because I like the one with the creepy guy's head materializing from a chair to lick a woman's neck. Hell yes.

mrs.5000 said...

I like Varo a lot, but her paintings read as illustrations to me--I think, oh, that would make a great book cover--whereas the Hopper paintings make me want to stand in front of the original in a museum somewhere. So much of the sweep and ache of the Hoppers are in the composition itself. So he has my vote.

Michael5000 said...

Susan says "Hopper (Varo is fascinating; too bad she was up against Hopper.)"

boonec1974 said...


Michael5000 said...

Wowser, this Tournament isn't getting any easier. I found Morgan and Dr. Noisewater both very persuasive for Varo, Mrs. for Hopper, and pfly for both.

I'm going to end up with Ben: "I wish I didn't have to choose, but since I do, I'm going to choose Hopper."

Candida said...


Michael5000 said...

Hopper's comeback starts too late and doesn't last long enough, and the last vote seals a 7-5 win for Play-In Artist Remedios Varo! She'll take on Thomas Hart Benton next. Hopper will have time to regroup, as his opponent in the Left Brackets will depend on the resolution of some ties.