Wes Magyar is telling us something.
What that something is however, is up for debate. And this is one of the reasons why this Denver-based artist's work is of interest. For it never has been the duty of any artist, of any medium to draw it all out for easy consumption. As Magyar admits, his profession's duty is to be challenging the viewer.
And this is a challenge easy for all to engage in. Because beyond Magyar's hearty compositions and thick brush strokes are luscious and surreal portraits of men sawing down light posts in the city; a man serving his family bricks for dinner; and a man with homemade wings. His work is rich with meaning. And alluring to the eye.
Magyar is the first Denver painter to be hosted by syntax. So, we were chomping at the bit to ask a couple basic questions.
What are your feelings about the art and culture scene, here in Denver?
The next few years will be a very exciting time for the art scene in Denver. With the new DAM addition, the new MOCAD and the Clifford Still museum there will be a lot of attention focused on Denver. Artists and galleries have a chance to show people that the Denver art scene is more than mountain landscapes and cowboys.
Are there other artists in Denver that excite you? Who are they?
Lui Ferreyra, Vincent Camparetto, Bill Amundson, Stefan Kleinschuster, Kelly Shroads, Lu Cong, Michael Ensminger and Conor King are a few that come to mind. I noticed that the artists your magazine features are often illustrators. Jim Darling is a talented local illustrator.
What is your mission as a painter?
My mission is primarily to make work that speaks to political or personal issues that concern me. I always try to make work that tests my limits, and hopefully challenges the viewer as well.
In your work, are you trying to get across a point? Is there a specific worldview that you're playing with?
I believe that the meaning depends on the viewer. Much of my work is a critique of a certain American worldview that holds material wealth and comfort above ideals of freedom and equality. I think this comes across in the work but the specific metaphors in the paintings are open to interpretation. I like the fact that people who see the work have very different reactions and interpretations as to its meaning.
What influences your work?
As far as artistic influences go, artists close to me would come first. My father, Steve Magyar and my brother Ryan Magyar are artists, and I grew up learning from their talents. Lui Ferreyra is an artist I admire. I went to school with him and he is a big influence as well as a friend. A few well known artists who inspire me are Jerome Witkin, Lucian Frued, Francis Bacon, Jenny Saville, David Siqueiros and Degas.
What drives me to make the imagery I make has nothing to do with art. Personal experience and social issues are my main influence.
Visit Wes Magyar's website at: www.wesmagyar.com