Vive la difference

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Paul Georges, the late artist whose floral paintings and jumbo allegory are on display at The More Gallery, puts Ann Craven’s bird in the Altoids exhibit at the Morris Gallery of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to shame (left, “Cat and Pigeon and Arbor,” by Georges).

 

 

Craven, whose birds come out of the pattern and decoration movement, are cloying and content free (see Roberta’s post here). The birds have an impassive fashion-victim pose in front of floaty Pepto Bismol pink backgrounds (right).

 

 

Georges, on the other hand, seems to have a message beneath the gestural sprays of roses.  The trellises are a dark skeleton holding up the voluptuous beauty. The pigeon is aflutter with fear.

The cat is a stalker.  And the sky is in the distance, refusing to interfere (left, “Rose Arbor”).  Time is of the essence–a moment when everything is in bloom and the world is perfect, to be followed by loss of that moment. The roses will wilt, the cat may get the bird, the trellis may not last.

The brush work is juicy and direct. The red roses glow against the dark trellis and against the blue, green, yellow or gray swatches of sky which create a compositional balance. Both of these artists clearly looked at Japanese screen paintings, but only Georges picked up on the content, the attunement to the seasons, the metaphor for life short duration.

So there’s a choice here between nothing and something.  I’ll go for Georges’ something.

For more on the Altoids Collection show, go here for Roberta’s comments, and here for Libby’s.

 

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