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oil on canvas
60 x 70 cm
Portfolios: November 2013 Curator Reviewed Art
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Controversy is a fascinating piece, demanding sustained emotive contemplation and scrutiny. Formally it shares some of the Dali inspired Surrealist elements strongly evident in other works in the portfolio, but the voice in this painting is imaginably more personal and allegorical. The development of fewer characters in a simpler composition also imposes concerted tension. I find the triadic grouping of crows nicely sets up a cadenced exchange, while alternating elevation and focus. While the checked floor initially struck me as a familiar Surrealist decorative motif or convention serving linear perspective, it also makes allusion to the birds as animated game pieces on an implied board. The black birds are stylized in a faintly cartoonish way; but wielding the single feather versus a fallen lure, they are transformed into archetypal tricksters. I don’t know that the infinite horizon and rolling sea/clouds are especially pertinent to the contextual narrative here, but they do provide a softened atmospheric perspective and theatrical backdrop. The Battle of the Giants is also one of many works exquisitely painted and composed, but I wonder if it closely models Dali’s embattled elephants, lowered from their stilts, of course. To this end, the flawless technique in Controversy arguably serves a more unique and accomplished vision.
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