Jul 232008
 

My first reaction to these paintings (Don Li-Leger art.com page indicates his tapestries as most popular) was to notice how the sound of their titles accords with the long, narrow shape. I realize that this is a somewhat irrational response, yet sometimes things — sounds and shapes in this case — just click. It’s as if the “a”s are given space to sprawl, from one square to another: in the case of Aura, each square may be assigned a syllable, like a musical note. Karma and Aura signal another turn in Don Li-Leger’s experimentation with the abstract-landscape ensemble (following the Iris Nine Patch and the Poppy Nine Patch). He sets these particular works apart by assigning them an unusual shape, consequently refreshing the entire concept.

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Karma
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The color schemes are nearly identical — but reversed. The outermost squares contrast each other effectively, red repelling the green (or the blue), the two hues occupying opposing segments of the color wheel. Neutral beige divides the upper and lower part in a shrewd, Swiss kind of way. The colors balance each other out, but not completely: the more saturated red appears heavier, and either weighs the piece down (Aura) or pulls it up (Karma). I think that in order to achieve a complete balance (if it is indeed desirable — a matter of strictly personal choice) one needs to offset the former with the latter.

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Aura
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Once again there is the temptation to try and guess the meaning of the colors, especially because most of them actually do not invite a straightforward likeness to something familiar. While the green and the blue parts most probably allude to a marine background, the yellowish-beige and the dark red seem indecipherable, and almost enigmatic. One reminds of sand and hot sun, but may just as well depict water under different lighting. The other projects a strong dusky vibe, but may in fact represent a part of an interior, which in turn would denote the flowers as still life! The artist tests his color formula in a different setting — harsh conditions — and proves its effectiveness once more.

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