Aesthetic Examination in Fine Bad Art: Portrait of Big-Eyed Pig-Dog-Person

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.


Melanie said...

I think it would be interesting to know what influenced this artist.

I believe this image will probably haunt my nightmares! Where DO you find these these things? :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Melanie- Ah, it still hangs in the Ohio River Boulevard antique mall here in Pittsburgh so you, too, can pop by and enjoy all the beauty and bouffantness that it is. :)

ReformingGeek said...

It's the aliens that live inside many of us. This artist tried to expose them. He was killed. That's why we don't see more of his work..

screwdestiny said...

I love bobbleheads! If I was going to collect something, I'd highly consider bobbleheads. So yeah, looking forward to that post.

And about this one: that painting's effing weird.

Jenn Thorson said...

ReformingGeek- Perhaps it's for the best. An exhibition featuring an entire room of similar pieces? ... Crikey.

Screwdestiny- You mean you don't want to have this painting hanging on your wall with a nice spotlight over it to display it to your friends and family? I mean, is IS a conversation piece. :)

Burgh Baby said...

I'm definitely not ever going to un-see that. I'm not sure that's a good thing, either. o_O

Babs-beetle said...

This is for real? I thought, at first, that you had made it up.

This is what horror movies are made of. The doll that lives by night!

CatLadyLarew said...

I sure hope you snatched that elegant painting up before anyone else got it!

Jenn Thorson said...

Burgh Baby- You have been enriched for the sake of Art. Enrichment is sometimes painful. And causes post-traumatic stress flashbacks.

Babs- Yes, oh yes, it is real. I am (for once) not actually kidding.... I know, terrifying, right? :)

Cat Lady- Oh, but I knew I must not. It must stay there at the antique store to be enjoyed by the masses. Preferably, it belongs in the Museum of Bad Art in Boston. But their collections may be full right now.