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jim buckels ~ metaphysical landscapes
︎Art, Painting, Neo-Surrealism   
︎ Mat Maitland



I came across Jim Buckels's work about 5 years ago when his painting ‘Blue Ruin’ was used on Para One’s album cover for ‘Passion’.

At the time, I thought it was a new image created by someone contemporary but upon further investigation I discovered that it was by Buckels, an American painter who rose to prominence in the late 80’s through his meticulous Neo-Surrealist style. His work appeals to my love of photorealism and fantasy. For further reading, search out his book ‘Metaphysical Landscapes’ published in 1995.

︎ Jupiter and Calisto
Captions from  Metaphysical Landscapes –

"Until [that] time, all my heroes had been Abstract Expressionists but I knew by [then] that I had no gift for making a spontaneous gesture. I just knew it wasn't the beat of my nature. However, I had begun to admire some of the Photo Realists, like Richard Estes. I tried to emulate this style and found that I could, and in the process, I learned a lot about the mechanics of painting. Ultimately, my new-found skills led me into applied art and illustration, where they were useful tools."

“I have a special affinity for the more obscure artist who had the gift for being able to coax you past the frame and transport you to another dimension”
"A lot of contemporary art is about the paint itself and the surface. For me, though, as a painter of representational art, it's important that the viewer forgets about the frame and the surface and pass through them to enter the space I've created. Of course, once you've coaxed them that far you have a responsibility to do more. TV can accomplish this quite easily. For a painter it's much more difficult, but it can be done. You have to ask yourself: What's next? Will I entertain them, or soothe them, or will I challenge them to look at the world in a new way?"








“What's next? Will I entertain them, or soothe them, or will I challenge them to look at the world in a new way?”

"On one level, I think of myself as a decorative artisan, or at best a scene painter. I don't mind this distinction, because many of my heroes never achieved much more. It's a modest but honorable aspiration. The artists who have influenced me are quite dissimilar and usually less prominent in the pantheon of art history: Canaletto, the Flemish scene painters, the Hudson River artists like John Frederick Kensett, the Pre-Raphaelites like Edward Byrne-Jones, the Symbolists like Arnold Bocklin, the Surrealists like Magritte, and so on. Of course, I love the great masters from all periods, but I have a special affinity for the more obscure artist who had the gift for being able to coax you past the frame and transport you to another dimension. I think I actually do this sometimes and if it's all I can ever do, that's enough for me. Isadora Duncan said that all her life she had struggled to make one authentic gesture. I think that's what we all want."



Further Reading ︎
aejv.com/buckels-bio





Mark