The Artists "Review" Artists Project was launched on June 30, 2008. Below is a "review" of Timothy Buckwalter's work, Devotion is a thing that demands motives., written by Carolina Mayorga. Timothy provided the second jpeg, an image of Because grief unites us, like the locked antlers of moose who die on their knees in pairs., as well as a brief response to Carolina's "review."
Timothy currently resides in the San Francisco Bay area, and Carolina lives in Washington, D.C.
If you would like to participate in this project, please email me at jtkirkland [at] gmail [dot] com.
An art review as I understand it, is a critical analysis and an attempt to interpret a work of art based solely on the visual, audible, and/or any other tangible information provided by the work regardless of the author’s intentions.
Having stated my perspective on the subject of art review I will identify the different visual elements of the piece that linked together will offer an interpretation of the work which, just a reminder to the reader, is unavoidably charged with subjectivity and personal baggage.
I read the bright blue background as a vacuum, a still setting rather than what would possibly come first to mind, a blue sky. The cartoon-like characters in the scene seem trapped in the space and in some way asphyxiated by the overwhelming flatness of the blue. The treatment of the subjects is very aesthetically pleasing; simple shapes, simple lines, and quick brushstrokes, qualities not often attributed to acrylic paint. These contrasting techniques between background and foreground as well as the composition add to the tension of the scene that comments on issues of isolation, acceptance, protection and vulnerability.
Previously, I referred to the birds in the scene as cartoon-like characters due to the human-like expressions attributed to the subjects, a quality often related to cartoon media. This turns out to be a key element for the meaning of the piece in which a group of birds, humorous and appalling at the same time become a powerful statement about social relations.
I'd also like to comment on the title Devotion is a Thing that Demands Motives, which I tried to digest and ended up only swallowing. It seems constraining, somewhat pretentious and almost irrelevant. I find the image sufficiently compelling, as it offers the amount of information needed to convey a powerful message, and is manipulated with a degree of control and spontaneity that transcends the pictorial. Perhaps the title actually intends to cause indigestion because there are things in life that can never be digested only swallowed.
The images I use are cribbed from other sources. The titles are also.
The titles are certainly awkward, they're intention is to redirect your initial idea about the painting. The bird, at first, seems to be the outcast. But what if, like the title says, he brought it on himself by some kind of unreasonable demand or wish?
Thanks for the astute reading of my work, and your kind words.
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