Monday, July 16, 2007

Karin Jurick: California Street


I have seen these streets in the movies, and perhaps this is why I chose to review this painting, unable to resist Hollywood's appeal.

Lines dissect the road and heighten the illusion of movement. Everything is in motion, or about to be: the people who cross the road and the cars that maneuver on it. Possibly, the artist implied for the viewers to imagine themselves inside a vehicle too, the frame of the painting being the one of a car's front window as well.

This is an atmospheric piece; it evokes the city's hustle and bustle, it makes noise in the quiet possible way -- through purely visual means. Stylistically, it seems closest to impressionism than any other of the artist's work. In a way, it borrows from a known set of techniques, such as color application and the treatment of light to produce the effect of time's passing and evasiveness.

A crowded urban landscape, this work closes down on the viewer in a stifling embrace. Pollution and loud neighborhoods come to mind the more I look at it. City life is not for everybody, and this depiction may serve well as an ultimatum: love it or leave it. Yet, somehow, it seems, the dwellers of San Francisco learned to reconcile the two opposing sentiments. Perhaps, achieving such harmony became a whole new form of art. I assume that the people who cross that road, mastered it to perfection.

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