Rainbow Flower Power – take 3 for GIFFight and Gif it Up 

Flower source image from the Museum of New Zealand

Background image “Rainbow” by Evan Leeson by-nc-sa 2.0

“radioactive” turquoise caterpillar GIF (CC-By-SA) courtesy of Alan Levine (@cogdog)

Art on the couch critique

What strikes me on first seeing this lovely gif are the changing colours of the flower which pick up the background rainbow colours. The lines of the rainbow flow in the same upward direction as the flower and complement it.   I notice the colours as they seem other-worldly and contrast strongly with the neutral flower stem and leaves. The rainbow adds depth to the composition. As your eye is drawn to the changing colours in the flower and the rainbow, the caterpillar surprises you and appears to create balance. A 3-way attention point: Rainbow, flower, caterpillar against the neutral stem. The fine threads in grey around the flower add contrast in stillness as the flower inside bursts with life. 

The movement of the caterpillar seems important and adds realism to an otherwise ethereal composition. What gives it the ethereal quality may be that the colours chosen by the artist do not exist in nature. We recognise a flower and a caterpillar yet the colours do not belong. It seems as if the natural elements put a barrier up for the viewer, we cannot reach the end of the rainbow. This effect is added to by the blurry nature of the rainbow. Then there is the creation of depth by the caterpillar appearing in the corner and seeming to go ‘into’ the picture nearest to the viewer. This makes it seem like the flower is behind the caterpillar and this in turn adds to the sense of the rainbow being unreachable. 

Given the title one assumes the choice of colour was intended to give the composition a pop-art style. The flower is out of any context, there are no frames to locate the work, adding to its detached feel. I imagine it as a flower that would belong in a biosphere 2 experiment of the future or a science fiction movie. My alternative title: ‘Life thrives anywhere’.