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Art Class at Mental Institution - oil on canvas-36/48-2012

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Comment by Resident Curator on September 25, 2017 at 1:24pm

Curator’s Comments: 

The title of the painting Art Class at Mental Institution suggests an emotional or psychological narrative rather than a formal portrait, but the quiet space maintains an interestingly subtle equilibrium. The restrained shifts in violet hues plays against the other bleached tints in the background stripes. But the smooth modeling of the shadows rather than a directed cast shadow seems to visually suspend the figure in the chair, just as the similar tinting of warm tones in the cushion allows her to melt into the form.  The hair covering her face obscures her identity, and makes it appear as if she withdraws from the viewer in the picture plane despite her dominant central placement.  I interpret the crossing of her limbs as another way to create a barrier from the outside, though it’s not an unnatural pose.  I remember admiring another painting figurative some time ago.  I was struck by the suspension of the figure as well, but must have overlooked this more nuanced expression. I do hope you continue to add new work to the site.

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