In previous critiques here on Art & Perception I referred to a lack of “robust colors” in some paintings. I wanted to show some positive examples of what I mean by “robust colors.” These still life paintings by Gautam Rao are just what I had in mind.

This still life of a liquid soap container has a lovely contrast of warm colors (the orange soap) and cool grays of the background. This deliberate contrast of warm and cool is, I believe, a key aspect of getting a solid, strong color statement.

The still life of a glass of orange juice has a more complex balance, but the same strong quality is there. Look at how he contrasts the strong decorative colors, and the color of the surface of the juice, with the more subtle colors of juice seen through the glass, and merged with reflections of light off the glass itself. The color of the orange juice is wonderfully rendered, I think. The cool grays also play a role in the background of this painting.

Gautam’s ability to work with both intense, even garish colors and the neutral and cool grays give justice to Walter Bartman‘s description of him as “a fabulous talent.”

As a former Bartman student, Gautam knows what group critique is about. He is game for criticism. Comments?