David Croll, an MFA trustee and a collector of American Impressionism and Boston School paintings, is a longtime admirer of Warren Prosperi’s work.
“He’s probably one of the best contemporary figurative painters I’ve seen,’’ Croll says. “[Looking at a Prosperi painting] you know it’s a current artist, with a sensibility that’s modern, but it’s also an academic painting, classically representational.
“He draws allusions to Caravaggio, Velázquez, Sargent,’’ Croll continues. “He’s trying to capture a moment with a figure reacting to surroundings. An ‘aha’ moment. Even with a portrait.’’
A long, venerated tradition of American realism-not interrupted but augmented by Americans’ fascination with photography-runs through Alfred Bierstadt, Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler, Alice Neel, and Andy Warhol, among others. In exploring the fall of light on objects and figures in naturally rendered environments, Prosperi exalts values of clarity, simplicity and directness familiar in Jan Vermeer and other masters of the form. – Susan Boulanger for Art New England, May/June 2011
Painting, like photography, excels in its ability to capture a particular moment of light and gesture. But the painter’s greater range of technique can more easily help our minds travel from the particular to the universal. The complexity of Prosperi’s technique paradoxically uses the way our brains perceive images to move us beyond perception, to give an experience of more direct contact with the world around us. The vividness of that experience helps take us outside ourselves. – Alice Flaherty, MD, PHD
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