In this painting by United States artist Charlotte Evans, a dark figure, seen only in outline, walks along a shoreline carrying a flashlight, the beam of which is differentially refracted into a rainbow of various colors. Tall, brightly colored, slender, vertical trees stand between the figure and the observer. Although the painting ostensibly depicts a three-dimensional space, that space lacks any real feeling of depth. Instead, the artist draws our attention to how the canvas has been divided up by the curve of the shoreline, and the vertical lines of the trees. However, our attention is drawn most immediately to the prismatic beam of light.
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.
In Not My Father’s Oldsmobile, a classic car passes through an intersection. The dynamic radial composition invites the observer into a scene typical of contemporary American life. Yet, the muted colors suggests a certain emotional distance from the scene, as if to warn us away from nostalgia: this is not your father’s Oldsmobile, and it is only passing through.