Recently, I introduced myself to the artwork of social realist painter, Moses Soyer. Browsing through his work in a retrospective book I picked up from the public library, I became aware that most of his paintings represented a very interesting aesthetic, which made a powerful impression on me for resembling a documentary style in his portraits and multi-group compositions, where peoples’ faces depict a weary-like expression. As I dug into his life, I quickly realized it couldn’t have been any more different for a Russian Jewish artist arriving in America at the turn of the century and witnessing the social climate that brought the Great Depression and eventually World War II followed by the Cold War and even the social revolution in the 60s. The artist died in the mid-70s.
In my opinion, Soyer was able to convey a sense of emotional charge by the way he applied paint to his canvases. Thick outlines in combination to flat layers of paint along with symmetric compositions in his paintings gave his subject matter a solid, even factual re-presentation, or a glimpse of what his life was like, and that's very appealing to me.