Luc Tuymans, born 1958, is a Belgian artist who remains one of the most influential artists of the day. To the casual observer his paintings may seem unfinished, mere sketches for something more thoroughly thought through. But that is his signature - a very bland, nearly monochromatic palette that captures faces, figurative works, interiors of contemporary homes or buildings and makes them seem simultaneously vague as though viewed through veils of memory or curtains of time and immediate - and demanding our attention to the detail at times left unpainted.
This book may not be the definitive volume on his career to date, but it does supply information from the artist's words that is sadly lacking in other publications. He offers insights as to his choices of subject matter without denying that he often works with images that suggest if not illustrate violence. His images often are reproductions of the faces of well known people - such as Condoleeza Rice and Lumumba - capturing the aspect of the various 'models' he chooses to present the unspoken words they may be forming. He is unafraid to make painterly comments that are politically charged - a factor that helps make his art so poignant in today's world. He is a painter to observe and this fine book gives a solid introduction to his creativity. Grady Harp, January 11