you closed your eyes and imagined an ideal place, what
would it look like? Perhaps a terrace by the sea, in some
unspecified Mediterranean spot, with wild roses growing
over the walls and a basket of ripe fruit in the foreground?
If so , then your dream locale is a lot like Bob Pejman's.
The Livingston artist specializes in detailed fantasy scenes,
often based upon real Mediterranean or Middle Eastern ruins. " I am fascinated with the
past, the ancient civilizations," he says, "and
the effect of time and nature on what man once created." Pejman
shows about 20 of his acrylics though Nov. 7 at the Pejman
Gallery, operated by his family in Short Hills.
terms his style "Romantic
Realism," because he deliberately heightens the colors
and details of a scene to make the experience more intense.
He acquires his knowledge of historic sites from reading
and looking at pictures more often than traveling. The
flowers, fruit, birds and insects that he adds, however,
come entirely from his imagination. Pejman never populates
his setting with human characters. As he explains, "If
there is nobody there, you are free to imagine yourself
within the painting. His large canvas "Memory of a
Vanished Empire" is a vast, Persian looking ruin.
The many broken pillars and stone floor are done in golden
tones, while purple mountains loom in back.
"Spring Time in Persepolis" features
another ruined temple, its gray stone columns and walls
carved with animals and soldiers. A slab in the foreground,
however, displays spring flowers in a cracked vase, lush,
dewy fruit and a colorful bird" the meticulous details
suggest a 17th Century Dutch still life, but without the
gloomy lighting. A view of a white-marble seat and arch
on the edge of a Mediterranean cliff expresses the theme
of "Solitude." Flanked by a twisting tree and
a small fountain, the seat overlooks a harbor where two
boats glide peacefully.
"Mediterranean Vista" sets
a similar mood, showing a steep rocky path that descends
past a ruined wall to a teal-blue bay. Pejman deliberately
keeps the whitewashed villages at a distance, so the scene
could be taking place today or long ago. "Abandoned
Villa" places us on a wide, stone walkway headed for
a series of covered arches, while another bay spreads out
to our left. One cracked urn holds a bird's nest, to emphasize
the idea that the structure has stood empty for a long
situation becomes more ambiguous in works such as "Gates of Paradise," the
terrace on the sea described earlier. "Last Days of
Pompeii," as its title suggests, is set some time
before the city's destruction; a carved table holds a sumptuous
flower arrangement, grapes of unnatural greenness, and
a quill and parchment left there by some educated noble.
Many of these works resemble theatrical sets, with the
nearer elements framing dramatic vistas. "Room With
a View" moves the action to contemporary America,
the window looking out on Autumn trees. A sense of European
culture survives, however, in the vase of flowers, piled
books, glass of wine and Greek urn.