Monday, February 09, 2004

   Meet Viggo Mortensen - painter, poet, photographer, publisher, and, oh yes, actor. Effortlessly recognizable as the ubiquitous incarnation of Aragorn, this disarmingly handsome man has enjoyed a successful art career alongside his Hollywood stints. Represented by the Robert Mann and Stephen Cohen galleries, among others, Mortensen has held exhibits in the U.S., Europe, and New Zealand. During the past couple of years he has also been running a small publishing company - Perceval Press.

"Later, Red," 2000. Viggo Mortensen.

Mortensen's photography is varied, sensitive, and bold. It grapples with color, saddles it and spins it into a freefall. It eludes categorization, avoids precision and embraces daydreams, savory, if viscous.

"Blue #4", 1998. Viggo Mortensen. "Red #3", 1999. Viggo Mortensen.

I feel that while Mortensen's good looks have been utilized full throttle in films, his dramatic potential has been underexplored. The previews suggest that in the upcoming blockbuster, "Hidalgo", he is straitjacketed into a predictable, clichéd role. I suspect that Viggo may do well in a more demanding lead. Why not posit Mortensen as Raskolnikov, for instance?...:)

"Lost", 2000. Viggo Mortensen. "Lost #5", 2000. Viggo Mortensen.

Check out samples of Viggo Mortensen's photography, read about the man, and consider the output of Perceval Press. Anne Fishbein is one of the notable artists featured by Perceval. "On the Way Home" is a book of memorable, hardy, and gentle b&w photographs taken in Russia's Yaroslavl in the 1990s.

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