Friday, March 8, 2013

Artwork review- Above the Water, Yucatan


Above the Water, Yucatan
1989
Laurence Homolka
Oil on canvas

Above the Water, Yucatan relies on the use of abstract form and vibrant colors rather than form. The painting can be seen as a dematerialized landscape, where the individual components, such as sky, earth, and foliage, are mixed and shuffled aggressively then bound within sharply angular shapes in some areas. However, in other areas of the artist allows the colors to spread unrestrained making the saturated colors bleed into each other. This painting combines almost paradoxical elements, such as brilliant colors as seen in the lower portion of the piece, and the muted earth tones that fill the top of the painting, to create an energetic composition that prevents the eye from resting on any given spot. It is almost like a visual buffet where the viewer can take in a huge variety of shapes and colors yet the painting retains a sense of balance. The unity among the otherwise disparate components of Above the Water, Yucatan comes from the careful arrangements of colors as well as the use of movemented diagonal lines that constantly transport the viewers gaze back and forth across the canvas. The juxtaposition of colors is most noticeable in the brilliant purple along the bottom which is balanced with the less intense but far more voluminous areas of tan at the top of the frame. Furthermore, large areas of a single hue, which would otherwise catch the eye with too much intensity, are broken up with darker, rectilinear shapes.

The painting might be an abstract interpretation of both the physical landscape of the Yucat√°n peninsula, with its emerald jungles and stunning coastlines, and the cultural landscape of that area. The alarming variety of pictorial elements seem to bear few similarities besides being on the same canvas, much like the many peoples of the Yucatan share that space. Native Americans, impoverished Latinos, and wealthy tourists inhabit the peninsula much like bright green, magenta, and muted brown co inhabit the painting. But like the history of the Yucatan, the composition is violent and jarring, with sharp vertical lines slice through the dazzling areas of pure color much like the Yucatan itself has been ceaselessly haunted by violence and intrusion. Above the Water, Yucatan presents a clash of colors and forms that truly forces the audience to observe beauty among great chaos. 

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