Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Carol Marine: Umbrella Flower

The colors, how they combine, and the soaring flower just make this painting so magical and evocative, like a flight of fancy trapped by a frame. The petals resemble butterfly's wings, flapping softly but nervously, as if trying to break free from the material flower, which, in turn, also appears to hover, disconnected from the ground by the lower edge of the piece. This painting is like a pastoral poem, except that paint and canvas substitute ink and paper. Or, perhaps a haiku, a short and condensed poetical image that imparts movement, delicacy and low-key and mysterious intensity in just three lines. Yes, I like this piece. And although there is no indication of whether it is an out or an indoor depiction, I strongly tend towards the former.

The emerald green is stunning. Interestingly, it actually appears in nature but, as the color of sea, not air. I think there is a recurring motif in Carol's work: she extracts and borrows a color that is characteristic of wide planes, such as the sky or the ocean, and transfers it to her next canvas, but with a different purpose -- disposing of other actual components, for instance, ripples or clouds. She detaches and abstracts that particular color from its origin, designating it the role of a reminder, of an actor that carries the power of evocation of something big and powerful. So if the green here reminds of the sea, the question that arises is why, logically, besides providing an surrealistic tinge, the sea takes the place of the sky?

Here the title comes in to fill in the blanks of my interpretation. The flower is compared to an umbrella, an object that protects from water. It alludes to the hydrological cycle, and that eventually the water in the clouds and the ocean is interchangeable -- and so is the meaning of the background. Rain and stormy weather often darken the atmosphere, and the flower may indeed appear to be crumpled by strong wind. Together with the ominous background, the title foreshadows the impending. But this painting also contains a flashback, of a historical and stylistic scope. It is reminiscent of van Gogh's Branch of an Almond Tree in Blossom. Most of all, it resembles it conceptually; same idea, different execution and scale. Though, Carol's palette in this piece may have some van-Goghian elements, of the late and troubled van Gogh in particular -- and, this final evocation, so it seems, will certainly surpass the rest.

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