Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Near the Tangled Garden - Hallowed Ground. By Doug Mays

The more I look at this work, the more intrigued I am by what happens within it.  I see a real sense of artistic liberation in this painting.

On the surface it looks like a pretty conventional work.  There is an area of trees, and a sunlit area and an area of violet flowers along the bottom left of the painting.  

If I asked you to point to its focal point, my guess is that your gaze would fix itself upon the area of violet flowers in the bottom left quadrant.  That was my immediate choice.  The violet luminescent hues set it apart from the rest of the work.

Fair enough

But, I want you now to take another look at the work.  Block out of your mind the area of violet hues in the bottom left, and let your eyes scan over the rest of the work. Squint your eyes. What do you see?  

When I gave this work a second look, the sun dappled centre of the painting leaped to my attention and when it did, a different vista of thought opened and I saw the painting from an entirely different perspective.

There is a garland of light, that loops down from the top left quadrant, and touches base with the centrally lit area and it wanders off towards the upper right corner (but not completely finishing its journey). And the centrally lit area, looks like a sunlit pathway through the woods. And, there is a  large loosely formed X pattern of light which criss crosses through the sunlit centre.

Convention has it that most artists, use light and lines to direct the eye towards the focal point of their work. But what's happening here?   Do you see how there is no relationship between the flowers at the bottom of the work and the rest of the painting. In fact, they even block the path of the eye into the work. Interesting.

If you are willing to discount our immediate choice for the centre of interest, then an entirely different dimension of thought opens and the painting takes new perspective,

All of this takes me to what I consider to be the real strength of this painting. I would suggest to you that everything revolves like a great circle around the centre and that our vision is telescopically pulled into the work.  At least that's how I see it.  

 If we are willing to see ourselves on a journey into this tangled garden where we can magically stroll along a sunlit path surrounded by vegetation -then I suggest to you that the painter has taken us on a journey within himself.

Now - take a look at the title at the top of this critique.  This one critique which really interests me to see what the artist has to say about his work.

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