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Bold Gold 24x36 N.F.S.

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Comment by Resident Curator on November 29, 2013 at 7:57pm

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Sometimes I feel I’m at a loss to contribute to a critique or discussion about photorealistic painting, no matter how strong the work may be.  Often the work speaks for itself, and its intentions are absolutely clear to the viewer. I find this to be the case in much of this portfolio of animal work.  I’m struck by the extreme sensitivity to color and form; the painting of Secretariat Grazing is perhaps the best horse painting I’ve ever seen.  (Apologies to Rosa Bonheur )The anatomical detail and glossy sheen of the animal’s coat is heightened in chroma and saturation, presenting a perfect specimen. The cool contrasted pthalo green grass in the foreground provides some atmospheric grounding as the grass recedes into a warmer, yellow green on top.  But the horse slightly floats as much as rests, as its shimmering body is all warm, in sienna hued chiaroscuro.  Bold Gold perhaps falls into another classification.  Highly representational, this composition calls the activity into question, and presents a slightly ambiguous dialogue to the viewer.  Possibly fashioned in a circular course for show purposes, as the portfolio methodically breaks down all stages of horsemanship, show and sale, the arrangement is still slightly conspicuous. The gestures of the horse’s heads create a fluid motion, suggesting the cadenced movement of one animal rather than a dozen. It’s as if the painting is reenacting in a full color a more spatial, stop-motion Muybridge study.  While I don’t get as much pleasure from the articulated detail of each horse as in some other paintings, there’s something hypnotic in their closed circular path.

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