Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ken Tobias, Water Pitcher and Rose

Water pitcher and Rose

Ken Tobias kindly responded to my request to send me copies of his most recent works to look at for the blog. I found myself fascinated by his picture, "Water Pitcher and Rose."

Ken presents his arrangement, as if they are sitting on a stage framed within a triangular beam of light. The advantage of this is that they are accentuated by the surrounding blackness. Wasn't it Renoir who advanced the theory that black enhances colour? It certainly does in this case.

As I look at this, I find myself fascinated by the pitcher and bowl. Its symmetrical flow of lines are graceful, and its colouring is sensitive and delicate. I am intrigued by the light patterns, and the visual pathways of delicately shaped lines which work their way around it.

Ken, masterfully presents us with the power of a series of contrasts. The pitcher is elegantly dominating and the rose is almost weakly and nakedly imprisoned within its waterglass. And as if to underscore the dominance of the pitcher, the rose leans towards it.

Not just that, but the smaller size of the rose contrasts with the larger size of the pitcher. The rose even loses out when it comes to colour. Its colouring is subdued, and the colour of the pitcher is strikingly bold. And as if to rub insult into injury, the rose and its watercglass has to share your focus with a towel which hangs behind it.

I love the colouring that Ken uses to make his work come to life. Even though the Rose leaves a bit of its reflected colour on the side of the pitcher, the pitcher, gets the fullest glory of the rose by radiating its soft opera red tone across much of its surface.

Ken,you've got a winner in this one.

Artist's Comments
it is a pleasure to hear you like a poet and a director observing a drama on the canvas. I found myself staring at the painting through your eyes.
It was uncanny. I got a whole new view. Although I'm aware of what I'm doing on my canvas when I draft and paint it I also feel detached at times
and find myself coming back to the whole of the painting and then seeing the composition and the colours holding hands and
getting that it's balanced feeling and not really quite knowing how it happened.

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