Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Christopher Stott: Four Espresso Cups in the Sun

I find this work ironic and humorous. The highest positioned cup has been pulled by its handle to brake the rectangular arrangement and to enliven the composition. This cup breaks the pattern. Allegorically speaking, it is the outsider, who has been pulled by his ear (the handle indeed resembles this body part), just as a capricious child would have been dealt with. I confess that this image has sprung to my mind the moment I saw this piece. I couldn't help laughing -- and admiring the conception.

If the theme I am talking about seems too abstract, then so is the background of this piece: there is nothing shown to indicate the surface as either a table or even a floor, or the ground (perhaps the color may point towards the latter, but not decidedly so). But I find this artistic choice as challenging rather than incomplete. Due to the absence of a definitive background, the focus of the attention shifts solely to the espresso cups and their arrangement.

A question arises: who is this outsider? If you look for a name on the canvas -- you will find one. But this is merely the most obvious assumption. Perhaps, we are meant to look for the outsider inside of us, and try to understand those around us. Every cup is portrayed from a slightly different angle, appearing unique; yet we know that they are exactly the same. Conclusions about the human condition seem almost inevitable.

The light, despite being very bright, is somehow soft and even comforting. Furthermore, there is something photographic about this painting. This particular quality is displayed in Stott's many other works as well, and I find it fascinating. Here, if the two farthest cups are rendered somewhat less accurately than the others (possibly the toll of continuous concentration), the overall effect remains constant and powerful.

Christopher Stott is a working artist from Canada

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