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oil on canvas 18" x 36"

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Comment by Resident Curator on September 21, 2013 at 10:42am

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Himalayan Honeysuckle was posted sometime ago, but I think it strikes an unmistakably fine chord between photorealistic nature painting and broader artistic concerns with cadenced pattern and mirrored light.  The elongated verticality of the picture plane proffers a sweeping drop of opulent texture and lavish purple flora. The silky gray-green individual leaves effectively exclude pure high chroma hues that would otherwise overwhelm the harmony of the piece.  The small amounts of negative space, particularly in the top and bottom sections, further suspend the visual weight and conjure airy freshness in the cropped brush.  I was somewhat surprised to see the medium identified as oil, as the painting has a diffused light source that appears to emanate from behind the subject, as seen in some of your other watercolor works.  The Great Blue Heron is equally skillful, but more descriptive perhaps than evocative of pure sensory observation of nature, such as the honeysuckle.  The reflective highlight on the heron does cast the bird in a delicate, almost supernatural light. But recognized as more common than mythical, he is slightly removed from the landscape- almost cut out and re-pasted with a faintly glowing aura.  For me, much of the intrigue of this work lies in the adroit vacillation between flat and atmospheric space.  The bird’s feet are solidly grounded, but the land rises up into a misty blue wash suggestive of Japanese ukiyoe prints.

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