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Teach a man to fish and he'll eat a tree - digital illustration ©2007
Portfolios: January 2014 Curator Reviewed Art
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Teach a Man to Fish and He’ll Eat a Tree is a marvelously sardonic work, with a quirky blend of minimalism and fetish aesthetic. The void of space that becomes the sparsely depicted background landscape is well suited to focus and harness attention on the strange human-fish hybrid. He stiffly hovers while eating- but doesn’t quite rise to the level of menacing threat. There’s also something oddly pleasurable about the delicately formed human features and painted tree against the smooth ground. The gradation of value in the small tree trunk prevents the work from flattening out, and effortlessly moves the eye across the field. The green line cutting across the horizon seems to poke fun at traditional pictorial space, complete with brown earth, blue sky, etc. I wonder if the approach to the mellifluous landscape is partially inspired by the digital media, or if this is a purely aesthetic or conceptual choice? The piece entitled Compassion- Shoes is a bit more mysterious and further in the camp of fetish-fixation. Visually the egg shape above reads as a floating eye- all knowing, but endowed with deceptive, decorative edging. The subtle Greek text, Sumpatheo, Metriopatheo, Eckstasis suggests the state of being outside oneself, versus sympathy, empathy, etc. In the context of the altered women’s heels, one imagines a heightened awareness of bodily modification and/or contortion. The small thorns or tacks inside the shoes render them as instruments of torture, if not fashion. But the piece overall still conveys a soft inviting mood due to its tinted pastel palette, belying the pain it ultimately offers. The radiating flower is another interesting element, rising like a yellow sun to offer the truth of understanding.
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