Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Back to the Future

"Children should be seen and seldom heard" is a credo that our parents subscribed to fully. One learned how to play quietly, never to speak at the dining table and only to venture an opinion when directly asked for it. No doubt a reaction to this parenting has resulted in our natural exuberance wherever we go, our love of loud chatter at dinner and our forthright views on anything from the price of fish to the philosophy of the human condition.

Lance Hattatt in contemplation before 'Ambivalent Space' by Róbert Várady [image JRH]

And perhaps our childhood experiences, most often as viewers of adult behaviour rather than as fully involved participants, have also accounted for our independence from the mainstream, of being outsiders and observers, ever the individuals as opposed to part of the crowd. We have found a kindred spirit.

We were introduced to Róbert Várady, the painter, and his works through the Várfok Gallery, Budapest's oldest privately owned art gallery. He is self-effacing, open and erudite. His art is powerful, haunting and, at once, both highly representative of the age to which it belongs and, yet, of another era entirely.

the painter Róbert Várady in front of his oil on canvas, 'Metropolis III', at the Várfok Gallery 

Realistically painted figures occupy a space and time which, in turns, is real and unreal, fixed and yet floating. They share an interface with a variety of geometric images, carefully drawn yet never clear cut. And, no matter how many characters there are, they appear to have no real underlying connection one with another nor, indeed, with their observers. The viewer, never pampered, patronised or comforted is challenged to make something of it all.

'Doing Business at Full Moon' , Róbert Várady, oil on canvas 2011, at the Várfok Gallery

In similar ways to how the new technologies confront humans constantly to reappraise and decode an ever developing cyberspace, so Várady's pictures ask questions, pose ideas and invite one to wrestle with the task of making sense of the individual and of society at large.

'Unidentified Object Slightly Radiating', Róbert Várady, oil on canvas 2011, Várfok Gallery

The art historian, Andrea Bordács, has written that "Várady's painting is the art of no man's land". Meditative and lonely figures, seen but not heard, seek an identity for self and a place in an almost virtual world. What better metaphor for life in 2013?

N.B. The exhibition, Várady Róbert / Tér(v)iszony, runs at the Várfok Gallery, 1012 Budapest, Várfok utca 11 until March 2nd.

249 comments:

  1. Hello Jane and Lance,

    This is a thought-provoking article, and, as always, beautifully written. I very much like the art which Lance was looking at, too; it reminds me of my recent visit to London's Tate Modern.

    Imagine how the world would be today if "children should be seen and seldom heard" had been harshly enforced throughout the 80s, 90s and 00s.

    I thought your penultimate sentence - "Meditative and lonely figures, seen but not heard, seek an identity for self and a place in an almost virtual world. What better metaphor for life in 2013?" - was literally haunting.

    If anyone has ever travelled on the London Underground, despite the millions of people bustling around down there, your words evoke an exactness on the experience of daily metropolitan life.

    Fanny x

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    1. Thank you so much for this comment. We are, of course, so very pleased that this post has resonated with you. Tate Modern remains one of our favourite galleries of Contemporary Art and is always somewhere we try to visit when in London.

      Indeed, the ways of bringing up children have so altered since we were young; not always for the better, or so we think!

      Your citing the London Underground in this context is so very apposite. We are always haunted by the silence which prevails, even during the 'Rush Hour'. Quite frightening if really considered fully.

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  2. Hi Jane and Lance. I like to see the art in the world through your blog, this was one of the aims of begining my blog so I've got it. Thank you

    Marina

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    1. We too, Marina, are always fascinated to see examples of very different art work posted throughout the internet. One learns so much.

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  3. I was somewhat of a seen but not heard child. While I struggle at times with modern parenting methods, I am not so sure I would like to turn the clock back to children not being heard. I like children to be encouraged to talk and develop their verbal skills.

    The last painting would look exceptionally good our walls.

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    1. Of course, Andrew, there is a happy medium when it comes to the bringing up of children. We suspect that we should have made hopeless parents ourselves.

      We very much covet that last painting too and are desperately trying to save the necessary Forint!

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  4. I really enjoyed the 'virtual tour' of this exhibition. I was impressed with the painting in the final image. It is very intriguing.

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    1. We are so pleased that you enjoyed the brief 'tour'. The final painting is most certainly one of our own personal favourites.

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  5. Thanks goodness that there are artists still seeking news ways of expression within the confines of figurative or representational art. I've just been to a large Chagall exhibition in Zurich, covering his years 1911-1922. He withstood the temptation of abstract art, thank goodness.

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    1. Chagall remains a painter who we greatly admire. We imagine that the Zurich exhibition must have been a wonderful experience and something which, we know, we should very much enjoy.

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  6. Dear Jane and Lance - your analogy of children seen but seldom heard resonates with these paintings. All of the characters in the paintings seem to be occupying their own space but in isolation even when accompanied by others. The paintings of the men falling in what appears to be an empty void reminded me of the 9/11 twin towers tragedy.
    Now you may be wondering how I know about those paintings. I have just taken a wonderful virtual around the gallery and see all of the work in close up. It can be seen here -
    http://www.varfok-galeria.hu/?lang=angol
    You can go into full screen, and manipulate the arrows which will take you all around the gallery.



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    1. We are absolutely delighted, Rosemary, that your interest in Róbert Várady's work should have extended to going into the gallery website. It is one of our favourite galleries in Budapest and one where, next month, we have been invited to give a tour in English of their next exhibition which will feature eight contemporary artists including, as it happens, the work of Francoise Gilot, Picasso's muse in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A possible blog post?!!

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    2. Please let it be a blog post!

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  7. Impressive paintings that give the viewer a lot to ponder!
    As for the metaphor for life in 2013, I am glad that my loneliest years are behind me (for now), and I am not seeking neither my identity nor my place.

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    1. Possibly all art, if it is seen to be of lasting interest, should give the viewer much to consider. Or so we think. We very much hope that you will not experience such loneliness again, Meike.

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  8. I was very interested to read that the art here was representative of the era to which it belongs and yet of another era entirely. That often happens, I find. No art arrives totally de novo and the task for art history is to find links and references.

    What does it remind you most of?

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    1. Although, of course, the figures are in contemporary dress, there are, we feel, connections to be made with Hans Holbein and, of course, early experiments with the art of perspective.

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  9. Whatever the intimate private process of these artworks, they are thought provoking and invite the looker to observe and somehow see themselves through these separate individuals, who are part of and yet so isolated from one another. My kind of paintings. Thank you for sharing. Sharon

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    1. We are so very pleased that you have enjoyed the work of Róbert Várady. We too feel that his paintings present the viewer with all manner of thought provoking questions.

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  10. Jane, this post is a fine piece of writing that could be easily found in an art journal or important publication. This artist's work is every bit of the description that both you and the critics have expressed.

    As I look at his work, there IS that sense of existing without a voice. Yes, they do seem to be "floating" spirits in bodies but not of the same genre of today's human. My favorite is "Business at Moonlight." As a new illustrator of a different sort of art (I am just "scribbling" childish images for greeting cards), I have come to appreciate serious painters and other seasoned artists. The skill that it takes to express on canvas or paper what one sees in their mind, hears in their head, feels in their heart, has got to be one of the most difficult feats for an artist. Dancing, playing music, even attempting a bit of poetry is far easier for me than to commit myself to a piece of paper with pencils in order to record my impressions. Kudos to these artists who can do that while magically showing dimensions that exceed the boundaries of the canvas.

    Thank you so much for coming to visit with me! A much needed trip to my native state of California is coming up in a week, and I will see the Pacific Ocean once again.

    Enjoy your day and thank you again for this rich tour of a great artist's collection! Anita

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    1. Dear Anita, thank you so much for this most generous and carefully considered comment. You raise so many significant points here and we agree absolutely with your thought that artists are to be admired and treasured for their ability to 'magically show dimensions that exceed the boundaries of the canvas' Such perfect words, how we should have loved to have written them!

      For ourselves, we love 'collecting' and living with the art which surrounds us on every wall of our Budapest apartment. It communicates with us every day and brings an added dimension to life which is often inexpressible in words. We cannot put it better than Száloky Károly, the owner of the Várfok Gallery, who writes about his own art collection: "My sight has gradually improved. If you live among pictures, your sight keeps changing and refining;of course only among good pictures.Conversely, if you live among bad pictures, it actually damages your sight;in fact you may even lose your point of reference. Just like when there is a flashing neon light in the room"

      And, as for your own art, Anita, you are far too modest. Your words and images delight the countless numbers of readers to your blog and inspire us all. You will be missed. Safe travels!!

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  11. Hello Dearests,
    His work does indeed pose questions. I particularly like the skyscraper in the shaking hands image, a clear starry sky, what was the rendezvous about? Another day would pose another question about his work. Well found artist, did you buy? I think I mentioned before, it's addictive :-)
    Much love
    Di
    X

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    1. Perhaps the sky was the limit in that particular business rendezvous?!!!

      Yes, Dianne, as you say, at every viewing something else may be seen and some further question posed. An artist or a philosopher, perhaps Róbert Várady is both!

      The final picture seriously tempts us. We have not bought it....yet!!

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  12. "Oh good." That was my immediate reaction when I saw that there was a new post here, one filled with a bit of palpable relief. Just in that I knew it would do me good to hear your whereabouts and whyabouts, as always. And I was right.

    I must say that I agree with Anita in that the writing of this could be published anywhere. The full context that only comes from an addition of personal, experience and point of view. Not to mention the lovely ride of an arc.

    For me, these paintings immediately brought to mind quite strongly the work of Edward Hopper, another champion of capturing modern isolation in stolen moments. Do you agree? As a fellow outsider and observer, I am quite of fan of Hopper's work. I would use it as a basis when I was acting at times.

    What a wonderful discovery of Mr. Varady's painting. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    With much Love,
    H

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    1. Yes, dearest Heather, we do agree that Várady's work can be aligned in many ways with that of Hopper.The feeling of haunting isolation does run through the work, but there can also be a touch of humour too. We like to think that Várady does not always take or portray life totally seriously!!

      You are always most generous about our blog posts and our hearts always lift when we see you in our reader and comment box. So strange this virtual world that the friendships made in them can be, we feel, every bit as real as those away from the computer!!Hoping that you are enjoying a happy week. Our love, J and L xx

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    2. Well, I love that my dear friend Virginia's comment followed mine and responded for me. For with all three of you, I cherish the very real friendships that have formed without actually having seen one another. The floating space indeed.

      It is not quite a happy week yet. I am still a bit on edge getting settled with Kipling. It has been a wave in our little family. A happy one but challenging for Ben. In time I am very confident all will settle and smooth sailing will ensue!

      Wishing you both however, the same and am hoping (optimistically?) that you have the same diamond blue sky overhead,
      Bisous!
      H

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    3. This 'floating space' [ a term which we love]which we all inhabit has indeed brought us such pleasure, words cannot possibly say how much.

      A new pet always brings a disruption to the familiar routines but, we are certain that with your love and patience, Kipling and all of you will win through.What a stylish family you are!!

      We do indeed have azure blue skies with fluffy white clouds sailing overhead today. And bitterly cold. Snow is forecast...yippee!!!

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  13. They are arresting! Especially the "Doing business at full moon" one. Yes, they say much: as much as the viewer wants them to say, I think. One can read a million things into them, or, I suspect, simply enjoy them on a more superficial level if that is what one preferred. Very clever art, to do that.

    And as we float between the cyber space and real space, who is to say what is real anymore? If friendships and thoughts are sprung from either location, perhaps the "floating space" becomes the precious one.

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    1. We are absolutely in agreement with you here, dear Virginia. The paintings can be enjoyed on so many different levels we think and, most certainly, will offer more and something different at each viewing. As you say, this does raise Várady's art to a higher level.

      And, you have totally captivated us with your last paragraph. The 'floating space' must indeed be treasured for that can bring unexpected delights from every corner of the world.

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  14. Thank you for introducing us to the work of Robert Varady, a very impressive contemporary artist. The floating figures in their ambivalent picture planes brilliantly convey the alienation so often experienced in the modern world. I am spotting all sorts of artistic precedents here, but ultimately of course, his work is unique, and deserving of this special exhibition. What a wonderful show!

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    1. Patricia, we are delighted that you have enjoyed looking at Várady's work. It is certainly something which we could happily live with, delighting in the daily 'dialogue' which would, undoubtedly, ensue.

      As you say, although there are many references to be found in his paintings, the work is a unique representation of the modern day with all its idiosyncrasies and challenges.

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  15. Dearest Jane and Lance

    In looking at Róbert Várady paintings my first reaction was to feel privileged. It is as though he has shared his biggest secret with us. The use of colour, shadows and portraits all fit. It is as though he is telling the viewer, regardless of your day job, we must never forget the beauty of this world. I would dearly love to see his exhibition. I wish him success and red dots.
    Thank you for bringing this joyful exhibition to us this morning

    Helen xx

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    1. What a wonderful way of looking at this, dearest Helen. Yes,we, the viewers, are certainly being drawn in and asked to escape from the everyday into a higher plane wherever and whatever that may be.

      Várady has enjoyed a successful career as an artist to date with many prestigious exhibitions to his name. However, these times of recession are hard here in Budapest and artists of all kinds are finding life exceedingly difficult. So, we too wish him well and may well add a red dot of our own!

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  16. Such compelling art! You cannot help but bring something of yourself to the images. They are so real you can feel the space and practically hear the echo of footsteps. Thanks you for showing it to us.

    In our home we were expected to carry on conversations at the table, but still have perfect manners (my mother was a Southerner and a military officer's wife, she KNEW manners). The one rule I railed against was NO SINGING AT THE TABLE. Why? I still don't know. Maybe I should paint something to show that I am still scarred by that ridiculous rule. Or write an aria - to be sung at the table.

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    1. Oh, dearest Helen, how we love the idea of singing at table. The thought never even crossed our minds as children, but we absolutely adore the idea of it now!! Our next dinner party must be the occasion....perhaps the 'Song of the Hebrew Slaves' as that is a favourite of ours!!!

      We are so pleased that you have enjoyed looking at the paintings. Yes, one can bring something of oneself to them and take away something else entirely perhaps?!!!

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  17. Lance and Jane, this post was so well written as usual:). I too grew up in that era of being seen and not heard, always taking things in... Once I was free, I didn't stay in that shell, I opened up.

    The pictures are amazing:)

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    1. Perhaps we are all now making up for the time spent reined in as children. The freedom to do as one wishes....how we love it!!

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  18. Dear Jane and Lance:
    Hello. You use the word "decode", and this, to me, is key to getting along now, even when I see these beautiful, surreal paintings.
    We human beings have been pushed forward, way out of zones of comfort, into othernesses we'd not ever have encountered at any other time.
    Why shouldn't we be thus, thrown off-course?
    For myself, childhood still exists. I still can't make sense of much of what I observe and feel. I was never able to decode it when I was young, but I've been able to translate it.
    Art, such as these paintings by Robert Varady ( forgive my computer its lack of accents ) helps me to translate a world I'd otherwise find myself not belonging to. Now I see.
    The world we live in now is one where space is at a premium, if it doesn't sound too terrible to say so. Positive space is where you can speak your mind, without hostility. Such a place I find here.
    I've been lately reading Alan Bennett's 'Untold Stories'. We human beings are having to experience a rapidity the world's not known before, and all to our own good, I believe. We simply MUST get to know each other, 'decode' each other, embrace each other.

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    1. Oh, dearest Faisal, how we wish that you were in the same room, right now, so that we could spend many happy hours getting to know each other in the real world. Decoding might then be somewhat easier as we should have our facial expressions, joy and laughter to add to the mix....one day!!!

      You have expressed what we find to be the case for 'good art' and that is its ability to support one with the translation of the world into something which resonates and makes a certain sense out of the chaos of everyday living.And yes, the positive space is so important for us all if we are to be nurtured and grow as human beings.

      Yes, we too are fans of Alan Bennett whose 'Talking Heads' series, many years ago now, made a great impact with us.

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  19. Interesting pictures, although I personally find them rather too lonely.
    As an only child, I was taken everywhere by my parents but expected to sit quietly in the corner. Our little man on the other hand is encouraged to join in and participate in all conversation.

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    1. There is,we agree Marina, a 'lonely' feel to the paintings which does not make them entirely easy to live with.Sometimes one is stimulated by works that one sees but does not always want to take them home.

      Times have certainly changed with regard to bringing up children. Of course, there is no manual and so parents must do what they think best. Chance how it all turns out!!

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  20. Good morning Lance and Jane,
    Thank you for sharing the paintings from the exhibit of Robert Varady(i'm sorry I dont know how to make my computer put the accents on the letters in his name!)that you attended. I'm really impressed with his wonderful contemporary works. Their eerie 'other world quality' reminded me of another great painter, Edward Hopper. Although definately Robert's works are evocative of the technological era in which we live now in 2013. Thanks!

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    1. Sally, we put strange accents on things the whole time!!!Life is simply too short to puzzle them all out. Of course, if we had a Hungarian keyboard....!!!

      Yes, Várady's work is reminiscent of Edward Hopper and does create a similar ambience when viewed. However, what is not very apparent from our photographs is that each of the paintings contains faintly drawn geometric objects which are unique to Várady's works.These add a further dimension!!

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  21. Thank you for showing us another interesting Hungarian artist.With the pictures being so empty it made me think more about the meaning of them.
    Sarah x

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    1. Yes, Sarah, what an interesting thought that is. Just what could be, should be or may be in the space.....we are certain that we should all have different ideas on this!

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  22. I doubt that the younger generation has ever heard the expression about children being seen and not heard. In today's world there seems to be so much communication going on and everybody is "out there", but nobody is listening. There is information overload, but things change so quickly, that what is relevant gets lost. People find it more important to be connected to each other technologically rather than in the flesh and blood. Ah, but I go on.

    However, how can I deny that I also have embraced the cyber life. I am on Blogger, after all.

    I love how you described the artist's work. Yes, indeed powerful and haunting but sad also. Life though is about change and moving on and taking in new experiences and being glad that we are here. How well your life reflects that.

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    1. We too are of the opinion that in a world where information is more freely available than ever before, people are less informed than ever before. They look but they do not see, they listen but they do not hear, they are more 'connected' than ever and yet are as isolated as in no other previous time in history. Now we are in danger of going on...!!!

      But yet, as you say, this 'cyber life' has brought we bloggers together and for that 'other worldly community' we are certainly very glad!!

      You are always so kind and thoughtful, Arleen. Thank you so much for this comment. How we agree with your final sentiments about Life and you, we are always happy to read, live it to the full too!!

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  23. I shall go to the website for a fuller look....intrigued as I am by the subject of your post.

    I could not live with these works - perhaps because they speak so strongly of their time.

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    1. The Várfok Gallery website will indeed provide you with far better images of Róbert Várady's works. We are delighted that you are interested to look further.

      We know what you mean about 'speaking strongly of their time' with reference to these paintings and could not have said it better.At one level there is a desperation about them, but on another a hope for the future. They are not easy companions,that is for certain!

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  24. Hello Jane and Lance, You get the feeling in those paintings that the physical isolation is metaphorical, that perhaps more people were present in those urban environments, but they were irrelevant because they were otherwise unconnected with the shown figures. Even in the "Doing Business" picture, the figures shaking hands are looking past each other, and even seem to be otherwise unaware of each other.

    Thanks for introducing us to the fascinating insight of Róbert Várady.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. We find this a most interesting and telling idea, Jim, for in it you suggest that there is a paring down which, as a result, allows the viewer to focus on the principal elements of the painting, upon what actually matters, as opposed to being distracted by the superfluous. As with so much else, it is what is left out that, paradoxically, contributes to the whole.

      Róbert Várady is certainly an artist who is not wthout interest.

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  25. I grew up under the same edict. It helped form me into an observer and, rather too often, a commentator.
    I know so little about contemporary art outside of the Canadian. It's one of the things I enjoy about your blog. I don't think I'd have been introduced to this artist and his intriguing work except through you.

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    1. Looking back it seems a strange way in which to bring up children if the hope is that they should become confident adults.

      One of the great joys for us in living in Budapest has been the discovery of so many contemporary Hungarian artists whose work, generally, is not so well known outside of Hungary although, happily, this situation is altering. We are so delighted that this post has given you an insight into the work of a painter who might otherwise be unknown to you.

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  26. ART. . . giving me time to ponder, reflect, amaze, scrutiny, wonder . . . delight . . . makes for a best day, best visit, best purchase, best gift.

    This post . .. I enjoyed. Positive parented children especially around others, away from their home setting . . . says something about the parent AND the child . . . and also makes for a BEST day!

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    1. We do so agree with what you say here about Art in general, Lynne, and to visit an exhibition always, we believe, gives one so much food for thought.

      Children will, of course, become the adults of tomorrow and so it is so important that we all take a hand in nurturing them in the best and most positive manner.

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  27. haunting paintings, normally I like more abstract or landscape art and folks have often asked me why my photographs never have any people in them, but I could see one of these in my home, thanks for the introduction. oh and I had a similar childhood and have made up for it ever since. Ha.

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    1. We do so think, Linda, that Róbert Várady's paintings have a haunting quality which, possibly, encourages the individual to speculate not only upon the people who appear but also upon their surroundings.

      We too are making up for lost childhood!

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  28. Very interesting Pictures im sure everyone of us would take something and see something different in each one depending on how we were feeling at that point in time. And thats one of the things i find most interesting about art. Another beautifully written post today thank you for sharing. dee x

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    1. You touch upon one of the most interesting aspects, possibly of all art, here, Dee, and that is the way one individual will 'see' something very different from another. We find that so very exciting.

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  29. This artist reminds me of David Hockney who also placed people in isolated situations and give the viewer much to think about. What a great new talent.

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    1. We do so agree, Adrienne, that there are parallels to be drawn between the work of Róbert Várady and David Hockney, another artist who we greatly admire.

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  30. "Outsiders...individuals...observers..." I think that describes many artists, writers, and creative thinkers. It's always wonderful to find a kindred spirit, and to know that you are not alone. There is loneliness in those paintings, but looking at them brings on a sense of expectancy--for me, as though I am willing someone to walk into the frame.

    I love your writings on contemporary art, and hope you do more. The Vartok seems like a wonderful gallery--I believe that's where your boy on the train painting came from.

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    1. We totally engage with your description here, Jen, that there is an 'expectancy' about Róbert Várady's paintings and it is that, of course, which contributes to their fascination.

      You are always so very generous in your support of our blog posts. Thank you. It is truly appreciated. Yes, our Ádám Hollós painting came from the same gallery; since that post we have treated ourselves to a second painting of his!!

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  31. Your memories always conjure, conjure. We're of the vast hordes of quiet, reflective children who note down details for further pondering, I think, and often we bring them forth at the oddest times. I know I do.

    And I can smell the fresh quiet turpentine of a new exhibit, the floors echoing to my stroll in my standard antiques-store/flea-market stance, hands behind back in some round-lady version of Scrooge or Squeers, paying not much mind to anything in the room save for the art. (Or dishes or chairs or doilies made by hands long still).

    The perspective is the thing in these paintings, and the lady in red seems a dollhouse person, standing on the familiar inch-tiles of the beloved little corner caffay of my childhood. I have a chunk of the flooring in a flowerbed out back, rescued from the rubble which is the small town of my raising.

    Wonderful photos, evocative words, and a flood of memories which explain the some of the raucous family gatherings at our house.

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    1. We do so like, Rachel, the idea of having belonged to the hordes of 'quiet, reflective children' although in our own cases we rather feel that our upbringings discouraged that individualism and spontaneity which we consider contribute so much to the forming of confident young adults.

      You paint here in words such an evocative picture of your own that now you too, in our minds, are with us in the gallery and together we are surveying the scene around us and enjoying snatches of overheard critical comment. Such fun.

      The perspective is something which strikes us most forcibly about Róbert Várady's work. We love the idea that the floor tiles he portrays evoke memories of your own childhood and that you have a memento of those days.

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  32. Hello Jane and lance,

    Thank you so much for sharing Róbert Várady's wonderful works of art. I have just been to see his web site and especially appreciate his figurative work. Very strong pieces.
    Best wishes,
    Ivan

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    1. We are delighted that you have enjoyed looking at Róbert Várady's work and have looked up his website. He has been painting seriously for a number of years and so there is a large body of work. We agree that these recent pieces are amongst his strongest and, certainly for us, the most appealing.

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  33. Our philosophy is to aim for thoughtful, independent minded, content and fulfilled individuals with a strong sense of social justice. Our methods were not of the 'seen but not heard' variety. Discussions played a big part of decision making, although if I'm completely honest so did reverse psychology! Neither did we seek to bring up children 'in our own image'. Just as well...

    However, I am minded also to say that I think both Jane and Lance have these very characteristics and were brought up differently.

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    1. Gaynor, that is such a wonderful philosophy and, we are sure, was not all plain sailing to achieve.But, how wonderfully satisfying it must be to see such excellent end results in your own children.

      Our upbringings were indeed very different but, perhaps, to love and be loved conquers all.

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  34. Seen and not heard were words that got me into trouble as a child! We had some very boisterous cousins visit, and they were noisy and jumping on the furniture. I must have been about 5 at the time and I told them off, I said feet off furniture and we should be seen and not heard. The parents left in a huff as their children were allowed to do what they liked. I might add the grandparents rang my mother later and said they were delighted that somebody had told the children were to get off :-)

    Love the paintings, my style. Take care Diane

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    1. Gosh, Diane, even from such a tender age you were in control of the situation. Surely if ever there was a natural teacher, then it must have been you!

      From our teaching experiences we always felt that it was important to give children boundaries that were clear and fair. That gave them something to rebel against but also made them feel safe if they kept to the rules. Another golden rule was never to threaten anything that one did not intend to carry out....!!!

      So pleased that you like the paintings. We do too. Very much.

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  35. Please, excuse me! =] The only thing that I can think of to say is that I'm thinking... I want to go think about them.

    I'm glad that you had the opportunity to engage in person with these images! =]

    Love to you both!

    Katy xxoo

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    1. Dearest Katy, we are thrilled that you want to go and think about them. Várady's paintings are most intriguing, we feel, and each time one does look one sees something else or something more or something completely different. Think away!!!

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  36. Thanks for the introduction to Várady. I love his work and your analysis. He does capture the cold isolation of modern life. His technique is really good too.

    It was interesting to hear how your traditional upraising shaped your unconventional approach toward life as an adult. I think that speaks to your character that you would be bold enough to rebel later and find your own way.

    My parents were more traditional than my husband and I are with our kids now, but they were always good about asking my brother and me questions and listening. My mom instilled a love of art in us, and now I'm an artist/writer and my brother is an architect. Our lives are more disordered than theirs, but we are all happy.

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    1. We are so pleased, Sarah, that you like Várady's work. We do think that they are very accomplished pieces and have much to offer the viewer on many different levels.

      Nature or nurture? One does wonder at times which is the most significant factor in how children develop into adults. But, whatever, we are convinced that, as you so rightly say, happiness is what ultimately counts.

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  37. Thank you, Jane and Lance, for this wonderful introduction to an artist I'm not familiar with, but whose work seems very thought-provoking. I must follow up the link Rosemary posted.

    I can remember having the seen-but-not-heard mantra repeated to me and my sisters as children, but more often in fun than as a serious admonition. We weren't allowed to argue or interrupt each other at table, but were encouraged to converse and share our thoughts and experiences and carried this on with our children and grandchildren.

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    1. Yes, do follow the link to the Várfok Gallery website as one can view the pictures so much better there. Our own photographs are woefully inadequate we fear!

      What is so nice is when families do gather around the table to talk. Sadly, one hears all too often that family members are constantly moving and 'grazing' as they go, seldom having the opportunity to spend time together in this most basic and essential activity of eating together.

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  38. Such captivating paintings! There's a certain haunting aspect to each of them; and like you say, the people, alone or with others, seem quite detached. I am sure, when around such brilliant and thought-provoking art, one could sit and contemplate forever.
    Thank you for introducing Várady's genius to the otherwise ignorant art person in me. As always, this blog never fails to educate me on so many levels.

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    1. Thank you, dear Suman, for your most kind and generous comment.

      Before coming to Budapest our knowledge of contemporary Hungarian art was pitifully weak. It has been such a joy for us to learn more about the many wonderfully talented artists who we are privileged to know here and, of course, to share them with others who are kind enough to read our blog. We are delighted that you have enjoyed making a connection with Várady's work.

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  39. Jane and Lance, this artist(whose work you so exceptionally write about) reminds me of Edward Hopper, though Hopper set his exhibits in a mid-century, mid-western America.

    I'm also reminded of Varady's contemporary, Kenton Nelson.

    Work that draws you almost forcibly into the painter's world.

    Thanks for sharing, Jane and Lance.

    As for being seen and not heard. Not at our house growing up. HA!

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    1. Strange that you should mention Kenton Nelson, Yvette, as we have been introduced to this artist via the Blogosphere. What a good job we do in introducing creative talent the world over to us all!!

      There are, as you say, many parallels to draw between the works of these two artists. They both certainly have a very powerful style and a forceful message to deliver!

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  40. I love being introduced to artists with whom I'd completely unfamiliar. I like these very much, and your statement relating them to 2013 is perfect. So very true.

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    1. We too enjoy new introductions, Teresa, and find that there is so much to discover here in Budapest with regard to the contemporary art scene. In spite of the current harsh economic climate which is making life very difficult indeed for many artists, there is a thriving art community here with so much talent.

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  41. Like the paintings, I think, and in any case I'd trust your enthusiasm. Somebody in your comments mentioned Hopper. A menacing dystopian world that's in his work does seem to be in these paintings as well. You start seeing all sorts of things after a bit, including the 17th century Dutch interiors you were reminded of. Probably you won't like my staff which is much less competent and much less disciplined :( Love, Rufus xx

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    1. Rufus? Now you have us foxed, dearest Alec!!

      Dystopia, yes, we can see that too. But,when the paintings are viewed at close quarters,one can see a look in the eyes which has a vision of the future which is not threatening and may, indeed, somewhat curiously, be a touch amusing. Yes, we think that you would like Várady's work.

      And, we should very much like to see your 'stuff'. Being brave enough to put paint to canvas and to hold it up for scrutiny always scores highly in our book. And, yes, there is room in the art world for a touch of chaos!!

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    2. I'm an idiot! I'm in England for a short stay, currently with Rufus in Leeds. We've been talking for ages. Obviously he's much on my mind, and also at the end of my notes! Hoping he'll come back to Spain with me next week.

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    3. All is now made clear. And when can we hope to see you, with or without Rufus [you know how we adore all Bright Young Things], here in Budapest?

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  42. Dear Jane and Lance,
    What an interesting post!

    Growing up in an extended family household where each child at the dinner table was interspersed with an adult to 'keep the peace' I am sure we were somewhat trying to our parents. 'Seen and not heard' only applied when visitors were present and woe betide the child who spoke: The gimlet eye was fixed upon them and they quivvered in their boots. But when no visitors were present then we were encouraged to talk - both at table and other times - but the conversation was always of an intellectual bent and I remember heated arguments about whether there was such a person as Queen Bertha of Kent, Lancastrians versus Yorkists, and why Penelope unravelled the tapestry each night while waiting for Odysseus to return . . .
    The paintings are interesting. While the style is not 'me' I find the 'Doing Business at Full Moon' to be intriguing with overtones of the meeting of Shakespeare's Oberon and Titania; and comparing it to the often machiavellian meetings that take place in the corporate world.

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    1. Well, dearest Kirk, the dinner table antics of your childhood do sound most intriguing. Was there any conclusion about Queen Bertha [she sounds very unlikely to us]?And what was the motive behind Penelope's unravelling? Surely, this is the stuff of which novels are written......by you, perhaps?!!!

      Oh how we love your idea of the comparison of the two business people with Titania and Oberon.Ill met by moonlight indeed!!! At one point, Róbert Várady was a philosopher and writer, we believe, so to enter his world through his paintings is to uncover many hidden mysteries we feel.

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    2. Many years later when I was in my early twenties, I happened to be in Canterbury and walking though the portal of the Cathedral I glanced up and there she was: a statue of Queen Bertha of Kent.
      I took a photograph and couldn't wait to show my parents that their ten year old (smart alec) son had been right all along...

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    3. Kirk, how absolutely splendid. We know Canterbury, of course, but not that well and it is many, many years since we were there. We imagine, sadly, that your photograph has long since disappeared.

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  43. Dear Jane and Lance,
    Thank you for introducing us to Róbert Várady-- his work is truly stunning! I can see how it calls to you, and why it seems so timely. I love the ambiguous spaces and narratives in this thought-provoking work.

    Thank goodness for non-conformists!

    Warm regards,
    Erika

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    1. It is those 'ambiguous spaces' which we find most beguiling about Róbert Várady's work since they offer so much opportunity for exploration of one's own thoughts and ideas. And yes, the pieces do hold a narrative and, what is so appealing is that each one of us would have a different story to tell from them!!!

      Yes, three cheers for the non-conformists. Life is never dull when they are around!!!

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  44. It is, indeed, haunting work. I see it as a very interesting commentary on the current detachment people have from reality and community. Your critique of the paintings is very insightful and puts into words the feelings the paintings elicit but I could never accurately describe. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you too for your most kind and generous comment.

      The 'detachment of people from reality and community' is, as you say, an extremely concerning aspect of modern day life. The pace of change, the bombardment of information and the increasingly solitary activities that most people experience seem to us to be isolating people from what are very basic human needs. We feel that the Arts in all their forms have much to offer by way of ensuring that the human spirit and soul continue to be nurtured.

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  45. I so enjoy when you find something so interesting as Varady work and post about it. Funny when I first looked at the 2nd photo it took me a second to see that he was standing in front of a painting. Just where are my glasses !

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Gayle, that was just a lucky chance when Róbert Várady became a figure in one of his own works and the camera snapped at the perfect moment. It happens but rarely but it is such fun when it does!

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  46. Interesting - I like the melancholy in them. In that sense they remind me of Giorgio de Chirico paintings

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    1. Sadness is indeed present but, also, hope too. In that way one cannot become too depressed by them, or so we think!

      We can definitely see some similarities with de Chirico. Most interesting!

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  47. Hello, Jane and Lance:

    I would love to see the work of Róbert Várady in person. I know it's probably not fair to make comparisons, but his paintings remind me of those of George Tooker.

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    1. Róbert Várady is an artist who, we are sure, you would find of interest, Mark. Certainly there are similarities with George Tooker although his work inclines more to Socialist Realism.

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  48. Quite striking how the paintings invite into their midst human beings outside the frame. The photographs of the paintings with Lance observing and with the painter standing in the foreground are particularly evocative.

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    1. Although the two photographs you mention happened more by chance than design, Susan, we do feel that the paintings do make links with the external world in the form of the viewer.

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  49. Hello Jane and Lance ~ You've posed some interesting topics and it would be oh, so nice to explore them around a lively table and flowing wine!

    Your talented friend, Róbert Várady, has put his brush on the pulse of contemporary society. We fool ourselves into thinking we are connected through our computer screens and the cell phones we never actually use for calling someone. Artists always figure it out first!

    I too grew up in the "children should be seen..." generation, but we tossed that out with our own children. Our candlelight dinner table was strewn with art and music books and lively chatter. It was wonderful and they loved it.

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    1. You are so right, Carol, when you observe that we live in a world where we appear to be connected, in a way never previously so, and yet in truth there is little if any real connection at all. Várady's paintings seem to emphasise this point.

      We love the sound of the dinner table as a place where the entire family meets to exchange ideas within a context of music and books.

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  50. Thought-provoking, magnetic. What a good find.

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    1. Yes, another contemporary Hungarian artist whose work we find enormously interesting.

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  51. This post really resonated with me, but particularly this paragraph:

    "And perhaps our childhood experiences, most often as viewers of adult behaviour rather than as fully involved participants, have also accounted for our independence from the mainstream, of being outsiders and observers, ever the individuals as opposed to part of the crowd."

    Thank you. You get it. Completely.

    I can definitely see myself in that first painting.

    I would love to attend one of your dinner parties. I wish people in my life could have real conversations like this!

    As a side-note, I totally laughed out loud at your comment from my last post. Hilarious!!

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    1. Thank you. We are so pleased that you have found the post of interest. How we wish that you were on hand to come to one of our dinner parties where your lively mind, your wit, and your unique way of observing the world would be so very much appreciated and add so much. Perhaps one day?!!

      We always, of course, enjoy your posts.

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  52. As always, you give me a glimpse of the world I would otherwise never see. These are such powerful images, and I appreciate your insight into them.

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    1. This surely is one of the great joys of the Blogosphere for it enables us all to enrich our own lives through the experiences of others.

      We are delighted that you have enjoyed Várady's work.

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  53. I love the way they juxtapose distance and intimacy. The characters so detached from our existence yet managing to draw you into the mystery and intimacy of their situation. Art is such a fabulous gift is it not!! My father once told me that "children who were seen and not heard ... were definitely up to no good" ... Rebels in the making. ♥

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    1. This so well describes one of the key aspects of Róbert Várady's work, Angy, where there are these two diametric opposites which, of course, provide so much of the interest and intrigue.

      Possibly your father was right; we certainly rebelled!

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  54. One can really feel the singularity in Varady's works...the starkness of the self and the self's daily surroundings...very moving and quite jarring to the core of the true aloneness we all experience at times...brilliantly done!
    xo J~

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    1. 'Singularity' so very aptly and appropriately describes Várady's work, Jessica, something which you, as an artist, clearly readily appreciate and understand. We wish that we had thought of that term!!

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  55. Dear Jane and Lance,
    now these are very impressive paintings! Very cool colours, lots of space, humans lonely but looking somehow efficient. Reminded me - though absolutely individual - of Esward Hopper (as I never read the other comments before writing something mybe this was said 124 times :-)
    I am intrigued by those paintings, the exhibition must be a treat. Though one might need a hot toddy afterwards.
    PS: In galleries I would appreciate the old rule 'Seen but not heard' for children: here in Germany a lot of people let their toddlers run wild in an exhibition and for half an hour do not belong to them...

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    1. We do agree, Britta, that there are similarities to be found in a comparison of Róbert Várady's work and that of Edward Hopper, a view which is supported by a number of other commentators.

      The exhibition we thought to be remarkable in so many different ways and since seeing it we have revisited so many of the paintings in our minds.

      Young children and galleries, generally speaking, are not a good mix and to have toddlers running wild is most certainly a nuisance for other visitors.

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  56. I was interested to know why you were drawn to Robert Varady and his work. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The work is indeed haunting and thought-provoking. Personally, it doesn't compel me although I'm intrigued by the titles and by small details such as the moonlight and odd fall of the shadow in 'Doing Business at Full Moon'. However, I don't want to be reminded of disconnectedness and the loneliness of such a state.
    I'm not 'literate' in modern art or photography, but it's always good to be challenged. You are fortunate that you know gifted artists such as Robert Varady and can talk with him about his work. My daughter-in-law is an artist and whenever I go to her exhibition venues it's good to be able to communicate with her fellow artists.

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    1. One certainly does feel privileged when, in conversation with an artist, one is allowed a deeper insight into their work.we can see that it is the same for you when you accompany your daughter-in-law to exhibitions.

      It is always fascinating, we think, to learn what the attraction is for a certain person with regard to a particular painting and yet, on the other hand, to know why others reject it. Whatever, for us, it is the debate and the dialogue that matters most for it is through this that the Arts stay truly alive and dynamic.

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  57. J and H, when I first saw your photographs of Varady's work, I was immediately reminded of Australian artist Jeffrey Smart who also takes what initially appears as mundane subject matter but somehow infuses it with feeling (not always positive ones) and recognition. Oh, to have that kind of talent!

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    1. Thank you so much for introducing us to the work of Jeffrey Smart, an artist about whom we had not heard previously. Definitely a parallel universe with him and Róbert Várady, we find his work most intriguing.

      As you say, Kath, oh to have such talent. It is a gift!

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  58. Hello Jane and Lance, I am enjoying reading your wonderfully informative, interesting posts very much. I was very much into my art as a young girl but my parents couldn't support me financially to continue onto art college unfortunately. Your words on Robert Varady's work are insightful and thought provoking (as, of course, is his art!) I just wanted to thank you for sharing. The photo of the artist standing in front of his painting confused me at first...I thought he was part of it!

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    1. Thank you so much for your generous comment.

      It is always sad when young people are prevented from following their dreams and using their talents to the full by other responsibilities or restrictions. Life can be hard and we are sorry about your own situation in this regard.

      The photograph of Várady in front of his work was a lucky chance!!

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  59. Hello there!! A marvellous set of works here...I particularly enjoy the last one for some reason, it seems lonely, like she's in need of something more. Fantastic article, well written, I really enjoyed it!! I hope you are having a wonderful week :)) xx

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    1. The last painting is the one which are very tempted to make our own. More forints needed in the piggy bank and then we shall see!!!

      We are so pleased that you have enjoyed looking and reading about Róbert Várady's work.

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  60. Dear Jane and Lance, on the subject of children being seen and not heard, I am reminded of when Lois was about 2, we were at my mother's and she had a friend for dinner. Lois is such a chatter-box, that my mum's friend turned to her and quoted this saying. Lois, (not one to be intimidated)gave her such a disparaging look and said 'I don't think that is very nice!'It isn't very nice, but as with all these things it is a fine balancing act of letting the child have his say, or letting the child take over completely.

    I love your descriptions of your friend's paintings, as ever when I visit your blog I am in awe of your erudite and fluid minds and feel a little under equipped to respond. I can say however that I too love the last painting the best, but I think it is the colours that speak to me, and the Vermeer type flooring!

    Many many thanks for your kind words on my blog, I felt it was time I showed my face. Thank you so much for your best wishes, they spur me on. Much love to you both, Linda x

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    1. Lois sounds as if she was a woman of her own mind from birth. How splendid!As you say, it is a balancing act but then so is much of life if things are to run smoothly. We are sure that we should be enchanted to hear Lois's chatter, she looks as if she has plenty to say and, with her winning smile, she would, most probably get her own way with us all the time!!!

      Yes, the floor is rather Vermeer like. We are pleased that the painting appeals to you too. The photograph is poor and in reality there is quite a subtle sense of humour hidden in the woman's gaze as she stares at the 'mildly radiating object'!!!

      The Blogosphere is so much richer for your presence, dearest Linda and we feel privileged to 'know' you!! Happy weekend, J and L xx

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  61. I really like these paintings. Put together with your words makes this post a very interesting read. I am so pleased that you have more than found your voices - you convey your words so wonderfully well!!

    As well as feeling for children whose voices are supressed I also feel for the parents of those children, as it seems to me, that they miss out on how amazingly interesting wee people can be. There's nothing I like better than the sound of the silliness of children and their giggles are the best sound of all! (You often make me giggle - thanks!)

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    1. Thank you so much, dearest Isobel, for your kind and generous comment.It is true that we have found our voices now and sometimes the volume control can go a little haywire!!

      Oh how right you are about the wisdom of children. It is that raw sense of wonder that for us is so absolutely beguiling. And yes, we do giggle a lot so are pleased to think that we can set you off too!!! Happy weekend! J and L xx

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    2. Even now you make me giggle! xx

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    3. And, Isobel, every time we use one of your cards we smile and remember your lovely warm voice!!

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  62. Fascinating and intriguing, both your observations and the paintings! I love the way the observers seem almost to be a part of the picture in your photographs.

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    1. Who is watching who? This is such a fascinating conundrum we think.The photographs luckily captured a special moment in time when the viewer and the viewed became almost one and the same!

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  63. I love the picture of you viewing his work. The work is disturbing though, isn't it? A twist on everyday situations make us change the way we look at them. Fresh eyes are a gift of the artist to the viewer.

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    1. Most certainly, Deana, the works are unsettling and definitely intellectually challenging. This is the appeal for us.

      You are so right, a true artist really can change the way we see things.

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  64. Dear Jane and Lance.
    I alwayd learn or discover something new from your posts.

    These paintings are beautiful. Sombre, a bit disturbing and even haunting.

    Thank you for the tour.

    Red

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    1. We only wish that you could see the paintings for yourself, Red, as we know that you would enjoy it very much. As an artist yourself, you have such a trained eye that we could guarantee that you would find so much of interest in them. And, what fun it would be to talk about it all!!

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  65. Jane and Lance, thank you so much for this introduction to a new (to me) artist. I can't wait to learn more about him. Your blog is so educational!

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    1. We are so pleased, Jean, that you have enjoyed knowing more about Róbert Várady and his work. He is a most exciting painter.

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  66. As a parent now, all I hear is my child, so I'd be worried if he was quite. That means he's up to something:)

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    1. Bringing up children today is, of course, very different from how it was when we were young. But then society has altered almost beyond recognition.

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  67. The artwork is so interesting because of the surroundings the figures are in. It looks so bare, clinical almost, yet the figures in them are so full of life.

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    1. We agree, Loree, that there are so many thought provoking contradictions to be found in Róbert Várady's work.

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  68. My dearest Jane and Lance,

    Your assessment of Róbert Várady's paintings is most insightful and definitive. Looking at the pictures, there is definitely the atmosphere of disjointedness or disconnection with the world around the subjects in the paintings.

    This kind of atmosphere particularly reminds me of paintings such as Caillebotte's Paris Street, Rainy Day (1877) - the parade of pedestrians on the street, sheltering under their umbreallas from the rain - a portrait of mental weather. Varady's works seem to be operating close to our nervous system (this is something I admire in art)...the result of this kind of art is less a "story about" or "of" life than a shattered meditation on it - what it is to be human.

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    1. You are most kind, ASD, in your comment on what we have said about Róbert Várady's work; your opinions in such matters we value most highly.

      We are familiar with Caillebotte's painting to which you refer and would agree entirely with what you say. And yes, Várady comes very close to an analysis on what, as you point out, it is to be human.

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  69. Haunting. These are pictures that make the viewer want to know more. I'd love to be able to stand in front of them and really get to know them better, having looked at the rest of the exhibition on the gallery's website. Várady is an artist I'd never heard of before, so thank you for introducing me to his work.

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    1. There are so very many Hungarian artists, like Róbert Várady, who are deserving of a wider audience. The Hungarian art market remains quite insular although the recent 'Art Market' did attract an encouraging amount of International interest and it is something which it is intended to grow.

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  70. Very interesting work...I am glad to know about him. Thank you always for your nice visits and comments!

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    1. Contemporary art is an area about which there is so much to learn. It is always of interest, or so we think, to get to know a new artist.

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  71. Hi Jane and Lance,

    Isn't the painting 'Doing Business at Full Moon' by Róbert Várady intriguing. There is something a little unsettling about it, perhaps the full moon outside or the fact that the shadow doesn't seem to match either of the two people in the painting.

    Várady is clearly a master at creating minimalistic works of art, which communicate powerful messages about today's continuously changing world. Rather riveting and thought provoking xxx

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    1. We completely agree with all that you say here, Fifi. Róbert Várady's work is unsettling both in its subject matter and in how it may be interpreted and this, along with much else, like you, we find most thought provoking.

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  72. Quite beautiful. I wholeheartedly agree with the Edward Hopper analogy, always the lonliness, or aloneness yet quite a bit going on. I find that you can stare at paintings like this for an eternity and see so much behind the image. They speak volumes, somewhat like the minds of those silent children.

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    1. Yes, Amelia, so many people have made the comparison between Róbert Várady's work and that of Edward Hopper and, like you, we do think that there are many similarities, not least of shared themes. Fascinating.

      As for the silent children.....if only we could read those minds!!

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  73. Hi Jane and Lance,

    Due to circumstances caused by my back getting wrenched and no, not that sort of wrench, I shall leave you a mercifully short comment.

    Simply put, the kindred spirit you allude too in this fascinating posting resonates with me. Also, I was quiet child and I've certainly made up for it!

    Your friend,

    Gary

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    1. Perhaps, Gary, those of us who were brought up to remain silent have, in later years, become the most vociferous!

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  74. The subjects he has chosen over the years are varied, notable, and worthy of discussion (Madonna and Anna Nichole Smith for two). His progression of realistic figures on abstract textured backgrounds is intriguing, and I was particularly interested in his "Holbein's Shadow" and "Cyber II."

    Looking at Metropolis III above I was immediately reminded of the darkness of Edward Hopper's painting "Nighthawks" with an emphasis on the different spaces of light and dark. The shadows made from artificial light sources would make for a great discussion.

    What a treasures you have shown us from this remarkable artist. Thank you for sharing both the work and the artist.

    Bises,
    Genie

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    1. We are most fortunate to have a catalogue, Genie, of a major retrospective exhibition of Róbert Várady's work given at the Múcsarnok, here in Budapest, in 2006. Reading it it is of course possible to trace the development of his painting over a period of time which we have found, as surely you would too, utterly fascinating.

      And as you point out, the play on light and dark to be found in so many of his works is in itself most interesting. Thank you for such a considered comment which has greatly added to our own thoughts.

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  75. 'The viewer, never pampered, patronised or comforted is challenged to make something of it all.'

    This sentence doesn't let go of me. Fantastically articulated.

    I am particularly entranced (equally) by 'Doing Business at Full Moon,' (there is much to love there) and Lance looking so dashing in his hat.

    All the intrigue chases people who wear hats. My daughter begged for an argyle fedora today. We passed on it only because the fit was not quite right. Otherwise, she would be sleeping in it now.

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    1. How wonderful, Suze, that your daughter is drawn to hats. A properly fitting fedora must be found...and soon!! We both wear hats for the greater part of the time when out, and love them!

      We are so pleased that something of Róbert Várady's work resonates with you.

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    2. It did resonate. I enjoyed it on my first visit and am enjoying it again, now.

      Little one is in possession of a great many hats, most of them fedoras -- some with sequins!

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    3. We are delighted that you have returned to look once more. We do believe that the success of this artist in no small part is due to the fact that one sees more or at least something different each time one looks.

      Oh how we love the idea of a sequinned Fedora......just the thing to make an entrance!!!

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  76. That must have been a life altering experience indeed! Galleries are food for the soul. Glad to hear you had fun and got to take in such challenging art.

    Hugs,

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    1. We hugely enjoy visiting galleries, of which there are many in Budapest, Kasia, but the Várfok Gallery remains high on the list of our favourites.

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  77. I was raised that way,
    seen but not heard so I when I was a kid and when we have visitors
    I tend to keep my opinions to myself never interrupting the conversations of adults.
    Now that I have a child of my own,
    I am raising him completely opposite of that way,
    and I am quite happy that he did not turn out to be introvert and he seems to have a good head and a good grip on life and very independent even if he's only 12. But there are times when I am being tested especially when he insists on his opinions being heard,
    that's when I would remind him of how my parents would not allow us to speak our own minds...

    Something about those paintings that depict coldness in human relations even
    in that handshake, the people seem so guarded... and sad that it really happens in real life.

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    1. It is such a delicate balancing act, Ann,between giving children the freedom to be their own person and yet allowing others to express themselves fully too. Whatever, we are sure that giving children as many experiences as possible and encouraging them to behave appropriately in them is by far better than keeping them constantly reined in or hidden.

      Yes, we too feel that sense of isolation in the paintings and agree that this is a sad but often true reflection of life today.

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  78. looks fabulous.....I love anything that makes me think, makes me wonder why??

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    1. Yes, we are more drawn to Art that challenges the intellect in some way rather than merely being a decorative object. Each day one can then ask a different 'why'!!

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  79. How wonderfully satisfying to read (as is always the case on your blog) carefully considered thoughts eloquently and thoughtfully expressed. And a splendid hat too, if I may say so. A fedora?
    So, art: I have no education in art. Mine was in science and engineering (leaving me now a whole new world to discover! Isn't that exciting?). However, a thought strikes me looking at "Metropolis III": Often, in real life, I look down such corridors. I get no emotional reaction from doing so. However, when looking at this painting of a corridor, I feel a sense of isolation and.. some other emotions I would have to think about before I could express them in writing. In fact, many of the scenes painted are reminiscent of familiar situations which I see often and which leave no impression. Why then should a painting of something have an effect upon me when the thing itself does not?
    Food for thought. I shall ponder as I drive up to Derby this afternoon. Thank you for the seed of that little mental exploration!

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    1. Thank you so much for your most kind and generous comment. Yes, a Fedora, purchased from a small hat maker near to our apartment in Budapest. A gem of a shop...we feel a post coming on!!!!

      We have read your thoughts about Várady's work with great interest. It is true that he seems to have the ability to make familiar situations look altogether unreal, thereby creating a sense of disquiet. Therein, at least to some degree,lies our fascination with his work.Perhaps this is the talent of a true artist, to make us question in new and unusual ways what we take for granted and passes without our notice in everyday life.

      Safe travels to Derby. Snow falling heavily here!!

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  80. I read this post the other day, but couldn't comment then. I've come back for a second look..... If I'm honest, I don't really like the paintings - I wouldn't like to live with one, for instance. Although they are superbly painted and very thought-provoking. I just find them rather sad and uncomfortable, rather cold and clinical. I think I would enjoy seeing the exhibition and learning more about the paintings (always valuable), but then I'd like to go home to something with more joy and exhuberance. Thank you for sharing. Abby

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    1. We totally understand this viewpoint, Abby. Looking at the paintings in a gallery and inspecting them closely there is one thing but living with them is quite another. For that one must be comfortable in seeing them at close quarters frequently and have a real connection with them.There is a sadness and loneliness to these works that does make for disquiet but, most intriguingly for us,we are not quite certain how this effect is achieved. For us, that is Várady's talent!

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  81. Art for me is personal and objective. I have learnt to read into what I see and decide for myself how I feel about it. Everyone sees art in different forms, that's what makes art so interesting.
    Varady's work is very different, he has put a lot of effort into painting and transferring his thoughts onto canvas. His work is enlightning.
    Thank you for sharing Jane and Lance.
    I was never allowed to talk at the table..!!!


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    1. Art is a very personal affair, that is, as you say, what makes it an especially important part of life, for it does allow one to explore one's feelings and emotions at a deeper level.

      We are pleased that you have enjoyed looking at Várady's work and have found it to be of interest.

      Perhaps you, like us, Val, are making up for it now that one was not allowed to talk at the table!!!

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  82. The figures in the painting express vividly the solitariness of each human being throughout the ages. The exterior may have changed but the interior landscape remains the same.

    Very interesting indeed.

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    1. We very much share these views.We like your term 'interior landscape' which conjures up some most interesting ideas and thoughts in our minds. Perhaps they are in Várady's mind and brushstrokes too?!!

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  83. Dearest Jane and Lance, Varady's paintings remind me very much of Edward Hopper who also portrayed human emotions of loneliness and isolation. I love the photo of Varady standing in front of one of his paintings. He looks like he is IN the painting. Another great shot Jane! Forgive me but is this the painter you are collecting? I do love his work.

    I hate to think of you not having an exuberant childhood, though so few of us do, but whatever it has taken to form the spirits that radiate such abundance of joy and generosity and who bring smiles onto those kind of rather empty, saddened faces Varady paints so well . . . whenever you meet them . . . in fact, entire "interior landscapes" are transformed by your joyous natures . . . well, I will not say it was worth being shunned by adults that way as children, but I am so very glad you are who you are now.

    Hugs from a snowy landscape in the hills of Massachusetts.

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    1. Dearest Carol, yes, we too see many parallels between Hopper and Várady. The loneliness and detachment are definitely the real though we do detect a glimpse of optimism in Várady's work and a touch of humour too. They are a curious mixture and they certainly capture our imaginations.

      The artist we previously wrote about from this same gallery is Adám Hollós, whom we also believe to be very talented. We need to save up rather more forints to afford Várady!!!

      How very kind and generous you are, dearest Carol, about us. We must say that it is so easy to be generous of spirit when in your presence as you are so wonderfully warm and open, embracing anything and everyone with a joy and vibrancy that is so enchanting and endearing.It is we who are glad to know you!

      Wishing you a happy week from a rather grey and miserable Budapest!!

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  84. How great to meet the artist!
    The first painting on your post, will stay with me for a while.

    "Meditative and lonely figures, seen but not heard, seek an identity for self and a place in an almost virtual world." Just like the kids of your childhood.

    And yes, certainly a metaphore of life today

    My life in the country side keeps me away from most exhibitions and other cultural events I would love to attent to. Everything is so far away, and there is hardly any time...
    So... thanks : )

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    1. We are so pleased that you have enjoyed looking at Várady's work. As an artist yourself, we are delighted that you find interest in his art.

      When we lived in the Herefordshire countryside for many years we too found it difficult to make the time to go to the many cultural events which were centred on surrounding cities.Now we are in Budapest for most of our time it is a wonderful privilege to be able to have so many concerts, theatres, the Opera and galleries to attend. A surfeit of riches!!

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  85. How happy I am that you are sharing yet another fantastic Hungarian artist, dear Jane and Lance! Thank you!
    I am fascinated by these paintings, and I get very greedy when experiencing contemporary art such as Mr. Varady's... I always want to know the artist's intention..
    As much as I attempt to interpret the work through my own lens, the question remains..
    You have written this post brilliantly, (as always), and I am quite satisfied with "meditative and lonely figures, seen but not heard, seek an identity for self and a place in an almost virtual world.", as the closest to Mr. Varady's own perspective...
    Warm hugs from chilly MN,
    - Irina

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    1. Oh, Irina, we love that phrase 'interpret the work through my own lens' and are so pleased that you have enjoyed knowing more about Róbert Várady and his work.

      We are excited to be able to tell you that Róbert himself wrote to us after seeing and reading the blog post and felt that we had expressed thoughts which were very close to his own ideas. That really did please us and he has now invited us for a private meeting in his studio.That, we know, will be a joy!!

      Hoping that you have a happy week from a grey and chilly Budapest!!

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    2. How absolutely wonderful!
      I am excited for you both...it will be a joy indeed, I am sure...for ALL parties involved! :)
      I actually tried to find more of Robert's work online (no luck there)...perhaps you would share a few more paintings in a future post??

      Sending sunshine your way!
      xoxo,
      - Irina

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    3. Dearest Irina, thank you for your kind wishes.

      If you wish to see more of Várady's work and indeed the other artists represented by the Várfok Gallery, just click on the picture of Lance looking at the sculpture in our sidebar and it will take you right there. The website is good for seeing and knowing more about the artists' works and one can enlarge the pictures to have a closer look.

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  86. Very interesting. I enjoyed reading your post. We don't get to see many works of art where I live.

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    1. It is rather a pity that you do not have too many opportunities to see Art displayed. We should miss that very much indeed.

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  87. Very powerful art indeed. I used to be a journalist for cultural events and I have a very soft spot for art :).

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    1. Yes, Petronela, we too think that Várady's work is powerful. And, in our view, the best Art always has something to say.

      How interesting that you were a journalist for cultural events. That must have been extremely engaging work. We have been asked to give a tour of the works in the next exhibition in the gallery and we are looking forward to that very much indeed.

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  88. Reminds me a bit of the work of American painter Edward Hopper (1882-1967), particularly his interiors. They elicit some of those same feelings of detachment, isolation, and the "anonymity of urban life." Compelling work.

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    1. Yes, Elizabeth, Várady's work does have many parallels with Hopper with, as you say, the 'anonymity of urban life'as a central theme. What does not, possibly, come across in our photographs, which is very apparent in reality, is the humour in them given by the expressions of the figures. In that way, Várady does, at least, give us some hope for the future.

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  89. Dear Jane and Lance -
    It would be fascinating to hear a talk from the artist, Róbert Várady. Let him take us from piece to piece in the gallery. Find out a bit more behind the artwork. Futuristic and isolation?? Very interesting!
    Cheers,
    Loi

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    1. Loi, what a great idea! However, often the artists themselves are rarely the best at presenting their work. We are thrilled to have been asked to give a VIP tour at the Várfok Gallery of their next mixed exhibition and we are looking forward to it enormously!

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  90. There are many of us who have reacted to those childhood restraints much as you have. In trying to identify what it was that I like so much about these paintings, I think perhaps it is my ongoing quest to be seen AND heard that lends resonance to this artist's work.

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    1. Well, through your own blog you are most certainly to be seen and heard throughout the Blogosphere!! Perhaps this new form of self-expression is a direct reaction to the restraints of our childhood. Whatever, we all certainly seem to be making up for lost time now!!

      We are so pleased that Várady's work has an attraction for you too. We find it most intriguing.

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  91. "Suffer the little children" is another wonderful credo. I was never pandered to as a child, and if I was naughty at the dinner table I would be sent to bed tout de suite.

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    1. Well, we like to think that you are pandered to and pampered as an adult, dearest Mitzi, for surely that is what you deserve!

      And, how well we remember always being sent to bed just as the fun was about to happen.....!!

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  92. delicious reverie looking at your words and pictures - merci! (heather from losinarles suggested we visit - so glad we did)

    *wavingfromLosAngeles*

    _teamgloria x

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    1. We are so pleased that you have enjoyed your visit and trust that we may welcome you back again soon.

      Heather is such a dear!!

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  93. Dear Jane and Lance,

    The paintings look impressive. I like the simplicity, the clear lines, but there is something that I miss.

    I find it difficult to describe. The figures he painted look a bit cold and businesslike to me. I miss 'warmth', a 'heart' and a 'soul' in them, but I may be wrong, as I haven't seen the paintings from close by :-)

    For me the most important thing in a painting is that it, makes me happy and think at the same time. I have to find it beautiful, inspirational, warm and colourful too!

    You look very sophisticated and knowledgeable studying the painting Lance. The outfit helps too :-) Very arty!!!!

    Have a lovely evening!

    Madelief x

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    1. We can see exactly what you mean, dearest Madelief, and can well understand your reluctance to want to live with Várady's work. Whilst the paintings are indeed highly accomplished and thought provoking there is an emptiness, a longing about them which does make one uneasy in their presence.

      A lucky moment captured on camera and an arty outfit. How we love your words!

      Sending all our love to you, J and L xx

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