Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Christopher Stott: Bananas

Another photographic work, this fruit-piece consists of two main patches of color, each developed gradually, through gradation of value. The already familiar wall in the background is gray; darkest on the edges, it brightens towards the center, where it meets the yellow bananas in the focal point. Correspondingly, the bunch's color at this place of contact is at its brightest -- in fact, it is almost white, being lit directly. The yellow then grows darker towards the edges. The radial treatment of value consistently alludes to the source of light. This is not accidental: light, and its side effect, warmth, allow growth; bananas would not sprout or burgeon if it were not for the sun. In fact, there would not be any life at all. Hence, this painting is heliocentric, and as such, it assumes a life affirming meaning.

The interplay in the yellow's value, along with the additions of white and black, gives the fruit an "inner life," as if telling about the edible contents. Drawing and color collaborate. The drawing brings out the form -- "the skin" -- whereas the color -- the soft, sweet meat(what's inside the form). I find particularly notable the detail where the bananas accrete: a small area where there's still some green, the black recedes into the lighter brown, and the wall's gray is visible between the individual fruit. It seems that the artist explores the possibilities and the range of the yellow color in various micro settings. He approaches color carefully and meticulously, aware of its primal force; he cultivates it, translating an agricultural feat into artistic terms -- the black in the lower part of the painting may refer to the soil used in the actual growing process. Without a shade of a cliche, art here imitates life in the most direct way.

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