Monday, June 14, 2010

Dief the Chief by James Lumbers

This work by James Lumbers caught my eye, particularly since Jean Chretien's portrait was recently hung in the Parliament Building in Ottawa.

As in many great paintings there is a point of tension. In this case it is the contrast expressed between colour and subject.

James used a lot of grey in this work. In our spoken language, the word grey, implies shades of meaning - nuances. It inhabits the region somewhere between the black and white of fact. But we're not talking about speech here. We're studying a painting.

But here's the rub. The greys do much more then waffle about in netherland, Their neutrality gives punch to the rest of the painting. While grey is neither here nor there - everything else in the picture is definitive and objective. And, herein lies the line of artistic tension within the work.

Diefenbaker sits on a hard, black leather seat, and he is surrounded by hard edged furniture. And he also fixes his formidable power of attention upon his paperwork.

Now when we look at the subject's face, the strength of this tension is maximized.
So we can see how Lumbers effectively uses grey as a counterpoint to give strength and power to his subject.

To view more of Jame's works, please click here.

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