In this painting by Sanja Milenkovic, a multitude of swimmers frolic in an outdoor public pool. In the distance, sun bathers and picnickers lay about on the green lawn or under the shade of tall trees. The scene is pleasant, but distant; the observer is removed from the immediacy of the water play below.
In this landscape painting by Anastasiia Kraineva from Ukraine, we see an empty field in early or late winter. Patches of snow sit on dead colorless grass. The bare, stark branches of leafless trees stand in the foreground. In the distance we something that might either be a fence, or perhaps a long line of block apartments buildings. The landscape is painted almost entirely in bleak browns, blacks, and dirty yellows, with the one exception that in the distance, a deeply blue sky can be glimpsed pehind wisps of dark clouds, offering hope for a warmer season’s return.
In Marta Zamarska’s pleasing series of paintings, Winter Impressions, we see various snowy winter landscapes, often featuring figures in various outdoor activities: children sledding in the snow, climbers make their way up snowy peaks, cross country skiers treading along a path. In these, the figures are painted as the merest impressions, as if seen some distance off through a haze of wind blown snow. The features of the landscape, captured as soft variations in color and shadow.
In others, any figures that might have been present, are lost from view in their entirety. For example in Winter Impression 20, a burst of sunlight is scattered in an airborne cloud of snow, an unlooked for hazy explosion of warm red and yellow. It is as if, the view were too dazzling to see clearly.
In these two dramatic works by artist Grażyna Smalej, the Milky Way, the galaxy of stars of which our own solar system is part, is shown as a colorful plume extending up from the horizon to tower overhead, resembling a roiling forest conflagration. The artist uses the the vertically oriented canvas to give the night sky, and the arch of the Milky Way, its towering aspect, while her use of color enhances the contrast between the the darkness of empty space with the luminous galactic cloud.
In this series of three paintings by artist Jae Schalekamp, moonlit scenes of a city street have been painted, perhaps out of the artist’s own window. A fog-like grey pervades the paintings so that nothing is seen with clear definition, though one sees that there are buildings with lit windows across an empty street. In two of the paintings, a tree branch or trunk painted in black is in the foreground, not only emphasizing that it is night time, but also giving these a dynamism that is perhaps missing from the third painting in the series.
In Sink Full of Dishes, artist Emma Copley paints in bright, cheerful colors, a garden, and behind it, a pleasant landscape of golden hills and tall grasses, as seen through a kitchen sink’s window. The view is from the artist’s summer home, and is the view the artist would have seen when standing washing up after a meal. The sink area, painted in blues and blacks, is full of dirty dishes, haphazardly stacked and waiting to be washed. The dirty kitchen taunts us with its routine drudgery, while we long for the freedom and pleasure of the bright garden.
It is tempting to read the presence of the dirty dishes as a conscious act of defiance by the artist against the cultural imposition of norms of feminine tidiness, but the tyranny of domestic chores over those who work from home: not only is the artist’s kitchen being presented to us in a state of disorderliness, but the artist has prioritized the painting of this picture over washing up.
In SAT NAV, the artist again shows us a part of the world as seen through a window, this time through the windshield of a vehicle. In the foreground is the dashboard of a motor vehicle, the steering wheel on the right-hand side in the British fashion. Through the window we see what might be an old windmill. The view through the window is awkwardly constrained by the vehicle. One wants to sit up and look over the dash, but one cannot.
In Beach Day by British artist Emma Copley, a multitude of people occupy a distant sandy ocean-side beach. A bluff is seen in the distance, upon which are several cheerful white houses with blue windows. In the foreground is a small rambling fence. The sea is painted in a myriad of blues, pinks and yellows, while the beach sand is predominately yellow and orange. The scene is lively and fun, but distant. This distance, coupled with the thickly applied paint and vibrant color, encourages us to focus on larger patterns of how people group together and use space, rather than their individual activities. A socially oriented landscape.
Few paintings of rain feel quite as wet as this evocative painting by artist Robert Bubel. Here, two trees painted in black and blue drip with rain over a sidewalk running along an empty street. Painted in whites and yellows, details of the street and sidewalk are lost, as they are slick and glossy with an abundance of rain.
Titled, The Scent of Rain and Wet Hair, the piece attains its forceful presence, in part, by drawing upon our own memories of walking in the rain. The title also does something interesting: although no figure is visible, some person must be present: the person whose wet hair is smelled, and the one who smells that hair. These, of course, could be the one and same, and the artist himself.
In Available for a limited Time by American artist Sam Tudyk a large, unused, billboard looms over two small houses on a green forested hill. Power lines pass behind it, hanging like old cobwebs, reinforcing the impression that, despite the signage’s self-reported availability, the billboard is derelict, once available, but as it turns out, only for a limited time.
In Intermission an abandoned drive-in theater screen sits in an empty parking lot at night. Drive-in speakers on posts stand in neat rows, wires twisting like weeds. The dilapidated screen is riddled with holes, exposing the ribs of its backing frame. If it is intermission, no one has waited around to see the next act. But who knows? What is old can become new again.