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30" x 40" oil on canvas

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Comment by Laurel Sternberg on January 28, 2012 at 3:36pm

I really wanted to put a pair of shoes under the Topchan (platform), but I'm afraid it'll stop the eye movement.

Comment by Laurel Sternberg on January 28, 2012 at 2:28pm

Thanks, Helene. I did large interior murals for many years, which necessitated softer colors, so they wouldn't overwhelm or tire viewers. But because canvases are smaller and because of this subject matter, I can just go hogwild with my colors.

Comment by Andrey Zhelkovsky on November 8, 2011 at 4:25pm

Chai on Topchan with Karavai :)

great work!

greetings from Beer Sheva

Comment by Resident Curator on November 4, 2011 at 6:38pm

Thanks for responding, but please don't change a thing!  I truly enjoy the ever so slight flattening of the space, as it sets the realism on edge a bit.   It's as if Matisse tweaked a Philip Pearlstein.

Comment by Laurel Sternberg on November 4, 2011 at 1:41am

Hi, Thank you for your insightful comments. The figure on the right waits to be served, thus she's not partaking yet and we don't see her hands. I had reference shots where things were being handed and received and they were too cloying, as my models are dancers and can't help mirroring each other when they're in costume. The heads tilting towards one another is a sign of mutual deference in their culture. I love these subjects because it's impossible to overdo the patterns and saturated colors. When I layer patterns, relationships occur, like the repetition of the diamonds in the carpet and the sleeve of the left figure, as well as the ovals in the background with the objects on the table. Thanks for pointing out that the background seems to flatten the space. I may dull it a little, to push it back, when I retrieve it from its current exhibition.

Comment by Resident Curator on November 3, 2011 at 10:24pm

Curator’s Comment:


I love this piece. While I recognize and appreciate your mastery of photo realism throughout your entire portfolio, I believe Chai on Topchan stands apart in its excessive decoration coupled with exquisite psychosocial dissonance between the two figures.  The sumptuous color is a feast for the eyes as the saturated reds and violets resonate and pulsate with rhythmic interchanges. There also seems to be a flattening of the interior space, as the lavish designs in the shallow background advance to the same plane as the figures.  The table is small, but the linear perspective and subsequent angle of its sides diagonally leads to both figures.  The spatial foreshortening further compresses the room, and ultimately presents the figures themselves as lavish ornament. The woman on the right appears to look past her companion, but their physical resemblance calls to question the idea of multiple vantage points or moments in time. The concealment of the left looking figure’s hands is also slightly puzzling.  She could be awaiting her server’s offering, but the placement of the tilted bowl and fruit become stand-ins for her inaction. It’s as if the woman mirror each other, by alternatively tilting their heads, leaning forward and back; acting as counterpoints or dichotomous twins.  The other pieces you’ve posted with two figures have decidedly more harmonious relationships.  And while I can’t decide the nature of the relationship between the two women in this piece, that makes all the difference.

Resident Curator Views

Ms Kristen T. Woodward critiques of members art.


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