Title: Mirage
created on 11 Jul 22

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Comments on this picture (31):
1. chelydra wrote:
 I realized while trying to plagiarize (sincerest form of flattery) your yellow horsehead that I'm not only unwilling but also unable to celebrate and emphasize the flatness of a painting's surface...
2. chelydra wrote:
 ...and then (perhaps simultaneously) explore the illusion of depth. Cezanne, Matisse, Van Gogh managed to combine these contradictory...
3. chelydra wrote:
 ...but equally essential tendencies (as we were taught back when "Art" was still a big deal, and Hans Hoffman's theories were all the rage (NYC circa 1969)...
4. chelydra wrote:
 [parenthetic note] Somewhere around the "..." at the end of chatbox #2, it dawned on me that I should have said "your previous yellow horsehead"—Once again I was looking without seeing!
5. chelydra wrote:
 So anyway... where were we when interrupted by that sneaky critter? I was gonna say this combination of flat design and convincing space includes, but is certainly not limited to, clever and playful visual puns etc ...
6. chelydra wrote:
 Escher carried this visual punning thing to extremes,—lines and shapes always turning inside out and flipping every which way, saying one thing and doing another. Like trapeze artists and magic tricks.
7. chelydra wrote:
 Escher is ultimately a masterful entertainer, a puzzler, a trickster. You have that side too, obviously. But there more to this flat design versus deep space thing... visible in just about any work by Hiroshige, Hokusai, Degas, Gauguin...
8. chelydra wrote:
 ...as well as the guys in box #2, and we should add the muralists of Pompeii whose plain flat earth-red backgrounds unified (and paradoxically deepened)...
9. chelydra wrote:
 ...their work. Your yellow backgrounds do exactly that, and brilliantly.
10. chelydra wrote:
 So, anyway, to wrap this up, in trying to plagiarize your (previous) horsehead (which I didn't even realize was horse-infested until I was ten or fifteen minutes into that effort! ...
11. chelydra wrote:
 ) ... I had the same experience as when I was briefly employed as an art thief, the kind that copies fine art at $5 or $10 per piece (an hour per piece being average) for sale in diners and furniture stores...
12. chelydra wrote:
 where I was assigned one of Chagall's surreal fantasies —Ha! What could be easier? i thought, and tossed off a quickie. But then suddenly Chagall's composition looked great and mine looked awful!
13. chelydra wrote:
 Why? It had something to do with what looked like a random, careless arrangement of a levitating couple, a blue cow circumnavigating the moon, flying fish, etc
14. chelydra wrote:
 Whether it was calculated or intuitive, Chagall must've known something I didn't know about some mysterious secret of harmonic composition. It was the difference between music and noise!
15. chelydra wrote:
 Around that same time and place (Boston 1967-68), B.U. exhibited the paintings of a new University president. I saw them from a distance and assumed they were by Mondrian. They looked exactly like those big lines-and-squares canvases.
16. chelydra wrote:
 ...Funny, I thought (before I saw who the 'artist' was), I never much cared for Mondrian's famous minimalist geometric abstracts, but I never disliked them until now...
17. chelydra wrote:
 ...for the first time I realized Mondrian's work had (until now) made me feel peaceful and mellow. But now, looking from the cafeteria into the gallery through glass walls, I felt downright queasy, stressed, even repelled!
18. chelydra wrote:
 What had changed? Then I learned they weren't actually Mondrians, but exact imitations... SEEMINGLY exact, that is. What was wrong?
19. chelydra wrote:
 I learned later that the real Mondrian relied on all sorts of complex half-mystic, half-scientific mathematical principles to get his black lines and colored rectangles just right. Hmmm.
20. chelydra wrote:
 Yet again this happened when I tried to knock off a 'free copy' of Sebastiano del Piombo's Death of Adonis. Other than its morbidity and creepiness, I didn't see why that picture seemed so fascinating.
21. chelydra wrote:
 My copy was nicely painted—I was deep into oils at the time—but not fascinating or even interesting to behold. Eventually I discovered the original was teeming with 'Golden Mean' spirals and proportions.
22. chelydra wrote:
 "The World of Leonardo da Vinci" (Time-Life) shows 8 imitations of the Mona Lisa by LdV's students and other artists. One look will cure any lingering doubt that the original really is supernatural, miraculous, etc.
23. chelydra wrote:
 Likewise, Van Gogh's awkward attempts to copy Japanese prints serve to reveal their effortless grace and perfection.
24. chelydra wrote:
 SO... the point is... what I learned in trying to plagiarize 'Wild at Heart'—thinking I could do a nice abstract in the same style—is that the style is inimitable.
25. chelydra wrote:
 Not only inimitable (by me, maybe by anyone), but magical. Mystifying. Enviable! The cleverness is deeply embedded in some seriously fine artistry.
26. chelydra wrote:
 Trying to copy another artist's style, like walking in someone else's moccasins, sometimes teaches you a lot. Like about what you don't (and may never) know.
27. chelydra wrote:
 For instance, I found that I could not for the life of me do a plain yellow background (or is it a foreground?) What could be simpler? But it was impossible! So that flatness-depth synthesis eluded me.
28. chelydra wrote:
 And I'm pretty sure it will always elude me. Ah well, such is life.
29. chelydra wrote:
 PS: If there any justice in this world, which there apparently isn't these days, this would about ten or fifteen like and loves by now, and about 27 fewer comments from yours truly...
30. chelydra wrote:
 Forgetting to type words in my old age: if there WERE any justice... would HAVE about ten or twenty... sigh...
31. chelydra wrote:
 .... another correction: and about 30 fewer comments from me