Metrov:
beyond the new millennium

He was born in Los Angeles. When, at the age of four, his mother gave him a book of Renaissance Masters, his life as an artist began. He learned by copying the drawings of Michelangelo and Leonardo. They became his first teachers.After studying Art History and Filmmaking at UCLA, Metrov moved to New York City. His early work there was much influenced by the drug, sex and rock n' roll atmosphere of the 70's.

THE 70'S

With fellow artists, he helped pioneer the old, industrial neighborhood which would become the ever fashionable Soho district.  His renegade accomplices were filmmakers, photographers, painters and writers, including Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon and director Abel Ferrara.  His haunts were the lower East Side, the legendary CBGB's and Studio 54.  Along with painter Philip Slagter, he formed the now infamous P.W.B.B.A. school [Post War Baby Boom Artists]. He supported himself by selling to private collectors around the world, and doing portraits of prominent Manhattan residents.

Metrov studied with the late Gilbert Stone, student of Gregory Gillespie, both Prix di Rome scholars and masters of Renaissance oil painting techniques.  In the mid-70's Metrov moved for awhile to Rome.  There, he studied the Masters first hand, in the galleries of the Vatican, the Uffici in Fiorenzi and in the very streets of the ancient cities.  Upon returning to New York, he created what has come to be known as the Suydam Series, named after the gallery where this breakthrough collection was first displayed.  He received prestigious reviews in the New York press, and offers to show in the upscale Allen Stone Gallery and elsewhere.  His 9'X12' painting, 'The Gift', a surreal portrayal of a life size American Bison, went on permanent display in the Hall of States, in the National Visitors Center in Washington, D.C.

THE 80'S

At the beginning of the 80's Metrov returned to LA.  He continued to paint and exhibit.  Intraditional Renaissance spirit, he also began to write novels and screenplays, design movie sets and costumes, sculpt and invent.  His motion picture SOLARBABIES is still in worldwide release by MGM.  During this period, he created the Adam & Eve Series [and countless variations thereof].  His work displayed in Los Angeles, New York and Sun Valley, Idaho, a favorite getaway, and home of many of his patrons.  His painted rock series was exhibited at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.

THE 90'S

He spent the early 90's in Atlanta, Georgia where he painted, wrote and exhibited.  There, he created the Universal Fabric series, a foray into total abstraction -- foam board relief panels constructed with acrylic paint on fiber board.

Upon returning to Los Angeles, he completed 'The Middle Path'.  In this series, Metrov has come full circle.  It is his attempt to distill all that he has learned and seen into a comprehensive style; a style that addresses the whole of society, the whole of culture, the whole of the human condition.   It is his attempt to balance the myriad energies that bombard the modern citizen of Planet Earth, to make sense of it all, to dance with it, to transcend it.  It is Metrov's contribution, his sharing, and his understanding of how to walk the Middle Path.

THE STATEMENT

By nature, a sentient creature requires the means to pass on that information  which he receives, much in the way a lake requires an inlet and an outlet lest it become stagnant.  Naturally, that which stagnates becomes toxic.  A sentient with no outlet becomes a candidate for insomnia, a crucible for the ulcer, a garden for cancers, perhaps even an instrument of violent psychosis.

We have found, by necessity, countless ways to express ourselves, not all of  them artistic, of course, at least not by strict definition.  But as we are the recipients of far more 'inflow' than any of our sentient predecessors, we are forced to more efficiently process this glut, or fall into decay, or burst completely at the seams.  Whether through work or play, through art or sport, crime or ballet, a hug, a kiss, a slap in the face -- we must let it out, or it will kill us.

According to the Standards of Culture, expression within the format of the Arts is (hopefully) with greatest eloquence.  It is expression demanding mastery, discipline, and usually years of perseverance, not only to 'get it right' (or at least to get it close), but to receive affirmation for one's efforts.  Moreover, whether he dance on a stage, chisel in stone, or fiddle with a bow, the artist is at once subject to current standards, while at the same time pressed to transcend said standards, to penetrate a bubble, so to speak, without breaking it.   It can be tricky business.

The foray into creation [a path swathed by a spectrum of styles -- realism,  fantastic realism, primitive naive, abstraction, and finally full circle to The Middle Path -- a distillation of all of them]  has been spellbinding, and at the same time, deeply unsettling for this artist.  To express those aspects of oneself that cannot be uttered in words, holds a certain titillation, a primeval excitement, perhaps akin to that felt by "he who first rendered" the wounded bull elk, or stick woman giving birth on the wall of his ancient cave.  Oh, magic beyond words.

Let it be noted, that "he who first rendered" gradually endowed his stick woman with flesh and color.  As a citizen of the Tigris and Euphrates empires, he began to add highlights to his human forms.  As a Byzantine, he toyed with the illusion of dimensionality, and finally, as an Italian of Renaissance Florence and Rome he captured his most exquisite representations ever, epitomizing grace, full dimension, and the ultimate balance of color and composition.

Having mounted this pinnacle, he sought new ways to express himself. He began to understand his art as a language, and he began a long, beautiful conversation.  For a time, he called himself Rembrandt, the first to shamelessly denude the strokes of his brush.  And he was answered by the Impressionists, who were in turn answered by the Naivists, and they by the Cubists, then the Surrealists, the Abstract Expressionists, the Pops, the Photo Realists, the Minimalists, and on and on, until what do we have left?  Rantings, perhaps?

Does it matter?

With the invention of the camera, purely figurative style is perhaps obsolete, (not to mention that Intellectualism has lead us repeatedly to the brink of extinction).  Art must inherently contain a balance of Intellect, Emotion and Intuition, since those are the primary aspects of our awareness.  After all, if Art is not about awareness, then it is about nothing.  But forgive me if I refrain from hanging pebble-filled grocery bags from my penis, or decorate the corner of a room with perfect grunge.  An artist is a conversationalist, a medium for his spirit, trading symbols with others who know the talk and the passions -- the splendid passions -- the joys, the sorrows, the angers, the griefs, the lusts, the terrors, the loves, all the loves, all the feelings (emotion) possible, captured beneath their surface (intuition) as mere colors, shapes, movement and light (intellect).  It attempts to grab at the very roots of manifestation.  To reach in through the veils of three dimensional illusion and fondle the stuff in there, the universal soul, the as yet tangible energy of God-mind, whirling around in the awful ethers of creativity.  It is a practice bordering on voodoo, wrought with danger, and at the same time, inimitable reward.  It may caress the whisper of an angel, touch the fury of a deadly thought, recoil from the heat of a demon, examine the mysteries of things which cannot be understood, but which can, ironically, be appreciated, even if only subliminally.  It is the heart broken and the heart swollen by romance, brutally, crudely, deliciously translated into imagery.  What peculiar song is this? What lingo? What invisible world brought to bear?  Is it sacrilege to hang it on our walls?  If so, what marvelously reckless living!

Art is the stuff behind the stuff.  It exists in the realms between light and shadow, and at the same time, it is the core of our reality.  It is the territory of magicians, the pathway of spiritual warriors.  Yet how is it that we have arrived at this present moment?  Was it really ghosts who drove us?  Where are we going besides round and around the sun, and it around the cosmos?  What are we really made of?  What propels us?  What is it we're supposed to know?  How can we love to our fullest capacity?  How can we achieve our ultimate potential? How can we best serve the Force that begat us?  How may we serve our partners in flesh, fellow soldiers who breathe the same threatened air?  Why death?  Why life?  Must we even ask?  Not necessarily.

Yet, we are sentients.  We cannot help ourselves.  Is it all about experience?  Are we the holographic fragments of a God who must create Itself in order to know Itself?  Or are we merely impostors hoping to be rewarded for our second hand cleverness?  This traveler cannot answer these things.  He can only keep moving, and try to follow the tiny star that flickers so far above him, hoping it's his true guidelight, and not simply an aberrant reflection from his over-loaded mind.

Either way, let him proceed with confidence and Faith; let him wave the flags of Joy, and march, as a stout and courageous dragon, through the bogs of the Information Age.  Let him celebrate for the sake of sheer existence.

Beyond 2000...

"Upon reaching the mid-century mark this year, I have looked back at my life as an artist.  What I've observed is that everything this man has created has been an attempt to balance opposites.  To balance dark and light, good and evil, beauty and madness.  It's pretty much what I have to do as a human being.  I look around at my world, and I am assaulted by contrasts...love and violence, killing and compassion, greed and humanitarianism.  It all has its place whether I can understand that or not.  Art is the language of the soul.  The soul is that part of me that is one with the Universe.  So as an artist, I will continue to strive to balance those aspects of creation that seem disparate; to harmonize them; unify them; to see them all as God."

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more at METROV2000.COM

*****


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