In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about how Soutine’s use of Christian imagery mixed with his life experiences, artistic influences and his own Jewish culture in his paintins, particularly his carcass paintings such as Flayed Rabbit from 1924. In Part 2, I uncovered beliefs and superstitions specific to the area where Soutine was raised, and how I believe they influenced his work, particularly the idea of the Angel Dumah and his fascination with death. Part 3 goes deeper into these ideas and how one painting in particular encapsulates them.
Archives for January, 2010
I collaborated with my friends Jonathan Nodrick and Anita Modha of ROLLOUT Custom Wallpaper in Vancouver on a project that’s currently on view in Toronto. The exhibition, entitled Radiant Dark 2010, is on view January 21-24, and runs concurrently with the Toronto International Design Festival.
The theme for this year’s exhibition is Assets & Values. Our entry, entitled “Oh, That Explains Everything”, consists of 3 digitally printed wallpaper panels, each 8′ high x 3′ wide, that emulate chalkboard diagrams. The drawings, charts and formulas explain everything you would ever want to know about the economy.
Tic Tac Toe was a mess. This 40″ by 56″ foam painting was colorful, but wrongly so. The smiley faces were in yellow, the mugs in violet and the grid in a mixture of the two colors, all set upon a motley background pretending to whiteness. With nothing to lose I blanked out the ground and blackened the figures. Most of the distractions are gone, allowing the basic question to be asked.
In the book, Journey to a Nineteenth-Century Shtetl, Yekhezkel Kotik shares his memories of living in a shtetl not far from Soutine’s home of Smilovitchi in what is now Lithuania and what was once the part of Tsarist Russia that held on desperately to the edge of its borders with dirty fingernails. Of the superstitious beliefs of the townspeople, and there were many, there is this one in regard to death,
Parked about the place, doing a slow burn, has been a dubious project. It is a deconstruction of sorts wherein an ordered and functional format is scrambled.
It contains the elements of a compass including a round face. The letters designating the cardinal directions, however, are congregated in a pattern that is more self-referential than indicative of a greater orientation. The needle sits idly by, with no particular functional opportunities, or sense of direction.