Flower source image from the Museum of New Zealand
Background image “Rainbow” by Evan Leeson by-nc-sa 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/eovqWK
“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’.
Creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by troutcolor: http://flickr.com/photos/troutcolor/15719237262
What stood out when I first saw it was the texture of the sky and the position of the sky, it is in the ‘wrong’ place. Also, the bright red in the middle and the sharp blue beyond the could – great contrast. The main reason this strikes the viewer is contrast between the colours and the conflict between where we know the sky to be and where it is positioned in the photo. What stands out is that whilst we know there is water there, we cannot see water, only sky and ships that ‘should’ be on the water. The mind is confused.
The colour of the clouds – pinky red. Fluffy, makes me want to touch them and this seem important as it gives texture to the photo. The top/bottom positioning is inverted and this draws the attention in. A key contrast seems the bright red dot in the mostly blue photo.
Depth works in a mysterious way to my untrained eye. I see the cloud close to me, land further way and then I see sky even further away. This is not how looking at a scene like this in real life would look – so you are pulled in to resolve the conflict between the ‘seen’ and the ‘real’. It has a surreal feel to it and yet a warmth from the lovely fluffy clouds.
What is not obvious is where the photo was taken from. No sense of the photographer or what is around him.
As I look at the photo I feel detachment, a sense of perspective and a sense of my givens being challenged. Literally and metaphorically – the sky does not belong down below and yet my eyes deceive me. My rigid views challenged as I have to stop and take a second look. I would call it ‘The impossible sky’.
I keep want it to edit the photo and remove the rail at the bottom. I might do that at some point to understand what is making me want to do it.
If you want to know more about this Art on the Couch project, you can read my first post or click on the hashtag to see all the post on this blog relating to it.
This is relevant to my #artonthecouch project. What did I think of this episode? It was [fill blank with overused superlative of choice] I will write more on this soon. I wanted to post it here so as not to lose it. Some kind soul on Twitter directed me to it, but I found it in a tab at end of the day. Thank you whoever you were. You were…I can’t even…literally…