Although artist Grażyna Smalej’s work can be described as figurative, typically, the figures in her work are small, and situated in environments of overwhelming presence, painted boldly in a profusion of color. Such is the case in this painting Giraffe. Here, we see a person and giraffe standing opposite each other across a fence, the giraffe’s long neck stretching over toward the person. In the distance, we see a field of grass and a stand of dark green trees beyond them, and above it all, a vibrantly blue blue sky, which stretches high above them all.
Indeed, we are used to thinking of just how tall giraffe’s are; their height, and their extraordinary long necks, are, in our eyes, their defining features, and yet here, the artist playfully downplays that feature, drawing our interest instead to the wide expanse of sky that looms over head.