Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dee Sanchez: Old Window


At the first glance, the window doesn't seem significant enough for the painting to be titled after it. It is mostly covered by the pots, which along with the flowers occupy the center of the piece, and of the attention. But I think that a more allegorical interpretation may remedy this seeming inconsistency: the painting displays a part of a house, where the viewer takes the role of the guest; the window represents the host, while the flowers are the offerings, symbolizing hospitality and welcome. The window becomes the mediator between the viewer and the host, carrying good will -- and scent -- as it invites inside, bearing, symbolically, all the responsibilities of a hospitable owner. Hospitality is still considered a foremost virtue -- and the epithet in the title may indeed allude to this ancient tradition.

The green window-frame plays the role of a secondary painting frame as well. The strong, and rather mysterious emerald color may be reflective of the owner's character. The blue of the window, which blocks the view into the premises, also contributes to the mystery. It is obvious that there is only one side of the involved figure that we are permitted to see: the joyful and the blooming one; coincidentally (or not), the color of the pots is either identical or close to that of the wall -- indeed a single side of the building. It is difficult to determine whether the artist meant for the flowerpots to stick out only in parts, as the lack of shadows and depth of space doesn't allow to make a distinction. Looking closely, it may appear as if some parts of the pots are outside, while others are in -- a probable misjudgement of perspective -- or an intentional mystification -- how much the flowers inside those pots truly represent the character that owns them? Are they merely an adornment, hiding something more sinister?

Most probably not, though it always is interesting to try and guess. And, regardless, the air of mystery stays. I could not fail to notice that the color of the signature is identical to that of the window-frame -- perhaps the artist is trying to tell the viewer something, besides the liking of the hue. Perhaps there are symbolic comparisons to be made between the window and artist's persona. The window is half-open, or half-closed, while the open part is covered by the flower-pots -- we return to the mystery/host allegory mentioned above. The artist lets the viewers know that her art -- the offerings on the window-sill -- represents only one facet of her personality. In a way, this painting may serve as a confession, where the artist reveals that she does not intend to reveal too much. For the viewer, in turn, it will be the invitation card -- in case the power of attraction of the unknown will prove to be irresistible.

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