At Of Cabbages and Kings, we are all about showcasing only the very best in the arts-- whether it be highly literary tales involving school bullies and toilets as a metaphor for man's raw and eternal struggle against man...
Whether it's the music that truly defines our time such as Beach Boys parodies dedicated to surfing Peruvian llamas...
Or whether it is showcasing the landmark moments in fine art. Like this piece I discovered while strolling the attic galleries of a local antiques purveyor...
It is installed to the right of a photo of three small children in overalls, and above a broken Victorian china cabinet, as if daring the viewer to question this intriguing, anachronistic juxtaposition.
Note how the artist has embraced the Big-Eyed Child stylistic trend found commonly in the latter part of the 20th century. Yet undoubtedly the viewer will agree, the physical features of the subject give this particular piece a dynamic and memorable look and feel all its own. I believe with further examination, the viewer may find it virtually impossible to un-see this work once seen-- thus reinforcing the artistic importance of this piece.
Let's take a closer look, shall we?
Note the saucer-like, disproportionate eyes.
Where normal pieces of this genre learn toward sentimentality, the gaze of this figure dares the viewer to object. "Weep? Why would you weep for me?" it demands, brow furrowed under its blond Carol Channing wig.
Large pouty lips, set in distinct disapproval, also emphasize the dark mood of the subject. While the nose above transforms the figure from irritated human with mysterious displeasure-- the Anti-Mona Lisa, if you will-- to reveal an almost inhuman, animistic quality.
Is the nose that of a dog, a cat, a pig? Has the artist transformed a beloved pet into anthropomorphic form to share an interpersonal connection that transcends the dynamics of master and beast, and back again?
Does the androgyny of the figure convey a personal ambivalence? Or is this a portrait of Elton John in his younger days, connoting a love-hate sensibility with his work and within his own identity?
In conclusion, this work, while unsigned, remains an important example of portraiture from the 1970s.
It has been left in its spot in the gallery, on the chartreuse green wall near the room with the fringed vests and framed Dukes of Hazzard poster, in a hope that more people will get an opportunity to see this seminal 70s masterpiece.
Thank you for joining our discussion today. Next week we will examine The Bobblehead As Modern Expression of Ancient Greek Marble Statuary.