Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Karin Jurick: Princess Scribbles

I think it is safe to say that Jurick's treatment of light is a standout element of her personal style. It produces a distinctive effect of "opening up" the space (even the smallest) before the viewer, creating a strong illusion of presence. The combination of stark light and harsh, uncompromising shadows is particularly obvious in this piece.
Furthermore, it works well with the theme: one often tends to unwarranted sentimentalism when depicting children -- yet here, due to the lighting, the theme is relieved of such excesses. On the contrary, I absorbed a tasteful mix of nostalgia (the past) with overtones of life's possible challenges (the future) that the girl should expect. We observe her from above; we can see her whole being before us, and that her life is to unwind before her.

The painting may serve as an existential allegory. The model is richly lit, wearing a white dress and, she casts a geometrically matching black shadow; yet she squats on a surface that is relentlessly grey. Indeed, life is full of compromise, and only as children we tend to divide everything according to the black and white premise. As adults we become aware of the vast grey areas that permeate our existence through and through. As the girl is focused on her drawing, she is not yet familiar with the surrounding dominant color. We are -- but we are only the observers. Thus, everyone must have their share of learning.

In turn, the colors the girl is using may foreshadow her personal struggle and contribution. Since her choice of palette is mostly bright and vivacious, it is possible to conclude that she possesses a similarly colored soul. The smiling face that is visible near her right hand may indicate an optimistic prediction as well. Indeed, I am interested of what she hides inside that basket -- be it a bag of tricks or a future coping mechanism -- it appears full, possibly bottomless, as it should be if she is to wear that crown throughout the many years to come.

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