Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Apple Harvest
35 x 45 Oil on Linen

A few weeks ago someone came into my studio and complimented me on my "daring and courageous use of negative space" in The Apple Harvest. It may not have been a correct usage of the term but I knew she was referring to the area in the upper right hand quarter of the painting that contained no objects. "Thank you" I said, perhaps unconvincingly. It made me realize how much the language of modern art has permeated our culture. When she looked at my painting she saw diagonals and shapes, edges and tension. I saw depth and form, harmony and atmosphere. In the space where she saw nothing I saw light and air flooding into the painting. To reinforce the harvest theme I designed the blanket to fall from deep inside the painting and spill out to the front to suggest a cornucopia in which the apples rest. This moves the viewer's eye in and out of the painting, a pleasant journey over the blanket, through the apples, into the bowl, up the blanket to where it is nailed to the wall and back again. The daring and exciting aspect is not the negative space but the use of light in that space. The light surges into the painting and boldly crashes into the still life washing over the objects in a most dramatic fashion. Our pleasant journey has been hit broadside, we are taken by surprise and our hearts skip a beat. It is unexpected, bold, perhaps daring and courageous, certainly dramatic. The space is not empty at all but harbors the protagonist of our drama.....