March 3rd, 2011
Maria Lassnig, Sunset, 1981, oil on canvas
So many things going on here that delight me. The pastels first of all, the gentle lavenders and that stripe of soft lime over the sun, and the creamy application of them. Those colors offset the scared hindward glance of the person in the foreground, the back of his or her head oddly missing as if blown off or serving as soil-bed for the trees behind. They offset the weird dripping red heart of the sun. They offset the odd trash-heap sludge mound.
And the more these unnerving elements of the painting mount, the more the colors don’t seem so Miami & Golden-Girls nambypamby after all — take, for instance, the sludge-heaps’ strokes of mauve & shit/vomit greenbrown, the weird teals in the scared person’s body. And then back to the subject matter: what’s going on behind that gives this person so much cause for alarm? I wish we could see what’s reflected in her eyes. Maybe she’s leading someone to the the flower grove, which given the painting’s perspective looks strangely large as trees. Maybe she’s stunned to be caught waiting fearfully for the dying of the light. Maybe she’s a shaman with her flower headdress, and she comes out here each night to perform her incantations, believing each time that without the glyphs she slowly draws in the air the sun would stay forever bolted to the sky.
Please check out more of Lassnig’s art over at Friedrich Petzel Gallery.
All writing © copyright C. Way / Snailcrow.com 2011