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Metamorphosis: 50 Contemporary Surreal, Fantastic and Visionary Artists
by Robyn Flemming (Ed.)
Publisher:
BeinArt Publishing 
Year:
2007 
ISBN:
978-0-9803231-0-8 
Categories:
Book Reviews
Reviewed by David Arnson, 4/14/2009

This stunning full-color collection of contemporary surreal, fantastic, and visionary art acts as a kind of calling card for the featured artists, each of whom is given two pages and a chance to say a few words. In the book’s introductory paragraphs, various artists and editors explain and expound on the contents, in one case revealing the decision to exclude New Age “dolphin consciousness” art (phew!). In another essay, painter Robert Venosa makes the point that “there is enough inspiration and visual material from any one-minute segment of an entheogenic journey to last a lifetime at the easel … and then one would still suffer frustration at not being able to capture what one witnessed.” Nevertheless, many of the artists represented in Metamorphosis definitely hit upon the far reaches of the internal and imaginal landscapes.

The quality of the art is absolutely breathtaking, and I found myself leaning in close to try to absorb the amazing detail of some of the paintings, wishing for the pages to be many times their size. I ended up going to a number of the artists’ websites (URLs are given in the book) to further explore their works. Most were new to me, although I recognized a few luminaries such as Daniel Martin Diaz, Ernst Fuchs, Alex Grey, A. Andrew Gonzalez, Martina Hoffmann, and the aforementioned Robert Venosa.

Herein you will not find any fractal, computer, or totally abstract art; what binds this collection together is an emphasis on a classic approach. Many of the painters are obviously influenced by Blake, Bosch, Brueghel, Dali, and Doré. The editors have struck an excellent balance between light and dark themes, as well as drawing from a truly international pool of creative souls. The images contained here are so varied and intense that I found it impossible to absorb the book in one sitting. My only complaint is that there is no table of contents or index, or any alphabetical or discernible order. Perhaps this is to force the reader to take the images at face value, without any bias of order or importance?

Metamorphosis is an invaluable launching pad to some truly inspiring and unforgettable art. I can’t wait to check out Metamorphosis Volume 2 – 50 Surreal & Fantastic Artists.

Editor’s Note: Both volumes of Metamorphosis are currently available through the publisher’s website. Amazon confusingly lists Metamorphosis Ias “out of print”.

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