In Looking Back by painter Paulina Swietliczko a woman stands on the beach cooling her feet at the water’s edge; her head is turned away to watch two approaching figures, walking or running across the sand. The colors are rich and earthy, and redolent of the calm drowsiness of a hot summer afternoon. Our eyes are drawn toward, and then deflected from the standing woman, as we re-orient ourselves toward the object of her gaze. Or what we guess is the object of her gaze. Indeed, we may wonder whether she is not lost in some pleasant reverie, perhaps a fond memory of some summer day long past.
Dumah is a name of ominous portent, the angel of stillness and death, a recurring figure in Rabbinical literature and Yiddish folklore. In Dumah the Angel of Dreams by Russian painter Grigorri Pavlychev, in sparsely painted lines of white and green over dark brown, a female figure is painted against a background of a myriad of whites, greens, yellows and reds, almost as if the angel had been stenciled in over a richly layered background of street graffiti. The angel sits in silent contemplation.
In Harvest Season by Iraqi-American painter Qais Al-Sindy a man and a woman present their harvest of dates. The man, clothed in white, stands behind the woman, clothed in red and black and holding a bowl, as if to invite the observer to taste the fruit of their labor. Their colorful garb contrasts with the more sedate colors in the background. In describing the painting, the artist recalls visiting Southern Iraq and watching palm date farmers climbing trees to harvest the dates. The painting, indeed, presents itself as an amalgamation of memories recalled with the vibrancy of youth.
In Watching Swallows by German artist Owen Normand, a girl in a bright orange shirt pulled over a light blue dress, dangles her feet in the water of a swimming pool on a sunny day, apparently absorbed in watching the sun’s light reflected and refracted in the pool’s water, like little swallows dancing in the air. Her sandals lay beside her.
The painting is one of a series entitled Slivers and Inklings, which the painter describes as “based around the idea of searching the sense of mystery that we lose as we grow older and, sometimes more cynical.”
In this piece, one of a large series of paintings, Israeli artist Shalev Mann paints on the canvas a patchwork of soft earthy colors reminiscent of desert camouflage or, as is suggested by the title, fields as might be viewed from an airplane. Sparsely scattered across the canvas are small black marks that might be field workers. The painting is soothing, but also serves as a reminder of how the environments are shaped by human activity.
In her series of paintings titled Breakup, Polish artist Monika Marchewkapoignantly portrays the interior experience of grief as revealed in the act of covering oneself in a blanket; it is however the blanket itself, more than the act, that conveys the emotion in these paintings. Painted in cold whites and blues, but more tumultuously textured than the room’s interior, the blanket appears like a snow drift that has buried the grieving woman beneath it.
Romanian artist Edith Torony creates richly textured abstracts composed of what are only nearly recognizable components. In Part of the Crowd, small figures are scattered within a dirty, crowded circle, one half of which is in darkness, and the other bathed in a dirty ochre. Given the title of the piece, the elements within it, and the utter lack of green or blue, one is tempted to see here a grim depiction of the our planet, either in its current or future ecological state. Regardless of the interpretation, the painting elicits a feeling of discord and claustrophobia.
Inspired by a visit to the Garden of Experiences, this oil painting by Polish artist Grażyna Smalej depicts a figure laying on green grass beneath a sky filled with colorful dots or spheres. The figure lies on their back, but their face is turned away looking at nothing in particular, except perhaps for a white building in the distance. The dots appear to emanate from the figure, reinforcing the impression that these are not anything physically present, but are instead a manifestation of the person’s reverie; many, no doubt, would wish to share in the experience, forsaking for a time the serious practicality of most of our daytime activities.
In these two landscape paintings by Australian painter Paul Patrick Morrison, mountains appear as anything but tranquil. Instead, using vibrant color, sharp contrasts, and almost violent compositions, these mountains feel both beautiful and dangerous, dynamic entities that must be reckoned with.
And indeed they are. Mountain 1, is in fact, K2, the second tallest mountain in the world.
In this intriguing oil painting by Czech painter Tomas Nemec, three night-time bathers hesitatingly enter the water of a pond or river. The tall grass and what appears to be curled barbed wire standing between the scene and the observer gently chides us for our act of voyeurism; has our curiosity been satisfied? what were we hoping to see? what presumptions guided us?
Oil on Canvas. 51.2 H x 66.9 W x 1.2 in.