Exposition Art Blog: Magic Realism John Wilde

Magic Realism John Wilde

John Wilde (1919–2006) was a painter, draughtsman and printmaker of fantastic imagery. Born near Milwaukee, Wilde lived most of his life in Wisconsin, save for service in the U.S. Army during World War II. He received bachelor and master degrees in art from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he taught for some 35 years. Wilde was associated with the Magic Realism movement and Surrealism in the United States. His darkly humorous figurative imagery often included self-portraits through which he interacted with the people, animals and surreal objects that populate his fantasy world

Drawing was Wilde’s boyhood means of visual expression and it remained the foundation on which the works of his sixty-year professional career were built. Wilde’s self-described “deep instinctive love of drawing” was a source of puzzlement to him; as a child he was not encouraged in it, nor could he see anything in his social or cultural environment that led to it. He did, however, have a deep interest in and empathy for nature and its cycle of generation, growth, decay and death. Vegetables, plants and flowers, both wild and cultivated, and animals, especially birds, are the subjects of many of his paintings and drawings. And, more than all, he always returned to the human form, whether invoking the whimsy of surreal situations or regaling in the complex and graceful discipline of fine anatomical drawing, of which Wilde is virtually nonpareil in his century. Often cryptic notes are included in drawings, from pseudo-Latin inscriptions of the early years to the intentionally didactic ten "Talking Drawings," of the early seventies, in which extensive monologues dominate the page, outlining solitary representations of himself performing daily chores such as raking (Madison Art Center). The human beings that enter his paintings are often nude, and often of the female sex. Writer Donna Gold described Wilde’s tendency to marry nature to the human figure in improbable ways in his painting, “To Make Strawberry Jam”:Wikipedia



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