Apr 212008
 

The discrepancy between dark palette and light mood creates an effect of surprise and subsequently suspense. In these greyhound paintings this stylistic feature (of mood and color counterpoise) finds a more comic than ironic expression. Indeed sometime I get the feeling the artist fully enjoyed and indulged herself painting these subjects — so unstrained looks her technique. The purpose here is to entertain — but the painter doesn’t limit herself to portrayals — she creates allusions and personifications, through visual means (the halos) or textual (the titles, which suggest human activity), stirring the viewer’s imagination. Perhaps the quiet temperament of the breed requires a more keen action from the owner, or the artistic “owner” of the subject, meaning the painter, of course.

Perhaps even more obvious is the correspondence between the prevalent background grays and the dogs’ color. In some pieces it may appear as if the animals have been painted with camouflage, so well they blend with their surroundings. But the contrary is the case: it was the colors around the dogs that were chosen to support the models. In a way this scenario is similar to portrait painting, only less intricate due to the animal nature of the portrayed. The artist’s choice of backdrop generates a rich scale of grays and browns — the variety within a single hue compensates for the general monochromatic scheme. Light, nearly broken at times, adds a touch of depth and a sense of interior space.



While playing with the subjects the artist alludes to their unstable status as pets. Furthermore, the games these dogs participate in as main players include shows and races, activities that may involve victimization and gambling. I think that these subtle reminders of the dark side of pet industry may invoke remote but nagging feelings of a possibility of abuse. Here the dark palette resonates directly — if only of an indirect and suggested sentiment. In a way these tensions unwind as a possible outcome of the suspense mentioned in the first sentence of this review. Sometimes it may appear that the long springy bodies are prepared to sprint into opposite directions — towards the owner, or away from him.



But these are esoteric developments. The general mood is of a pleasant and light communication between the out-of-the-frame owner and the pet; between the painter and the audience. We are meant to derive aesthetic pleasure from the accurate depictions of these dogs’ elongated graceful bodies. It may seem like overindulgence, but it isn’t. These animals must be beautiful in order to succeed at what they were born to do: pursue and catch moving prey. Observers who become caught up in the spectacle are collateral…

  8 Responses to “Sandra Flood: The Greyhounds of Pleasantville”

  1. I really enjoyed reading your critics on the three artists I had nominated, re: Heather Horton, Andrea Kowch & Sandra Flood. Three woman artists on the move with bright futures. Brilliant work relating imagery with some very ”a propos” analysis on your part.

    It is quite apparent that you have the required eye and comprehension to write critical essays that could also include art books and openings for major exhibitions in galleries or museums. You love art and it is reflected in your words.

    All the best to you Elijah

  2. Alvin — Thank you for the kind words. They keep me going.

  3. I enjoyed your critiques of Sandra Flood’s paintings, however, your comments:’ While playing with the subjects the artist alludes to their unstable status as pets. Furthermore, the games these dogs participate in as main players include shows and races, activities that may involve victimization and gambling. I think that these subtle reminders of the dark side of pet industry may invoke remote but nagging feelings of a possibility of abuse’ appear to reference racing Greyhounds, and very appropriately so, but it appears that only the first painting is a full-sized Greyhound.

    The last two appear to be Italian Greyhounds which are not used for racing, and are an entirely different breed.

  4. Thank you for your observations, Kelly! I prefer shepherds and huskies myself.

  5. Amazing how you rejected my comments about this “artist.” She COPIES photographs and is an amateur at best. Her lack of schooling is blatantly obvious. You must be a friend or hers.

  6. I gladly approve comments that have at least SOME explanation behind them, like the one you just left. It’s not helping that you are commenting anonymously — dropping an anonymous “terrible” or “awful” is neither constructive nor conducive to a discussion.

    So how about you tell us your name and about your schooling?

  7. Name is irrelevant because beyond your scope. Formal 4 year schooling at oldest art academia in Florence Italy (in native language) and private atelier in Paris at 15 years old for two summers.
    “Terrible” and “awful” are adjectives in the English language and therefore free to be used in opinion of describing something that is so amateur and poorly done with no knowledge of correct use of medium. And this is why “art” of today is perpetuated by unschooled amateurs where anything is acceptable as “art” no matter how bad it is. Praise is heaped upon the amateurs by modern audience who never learned what good FINE art truly is.

  8. Thank you for your comment!

    First, I don’t see how your name is beyond my scope — there’s no particular scope needed, as far as I know, to know a name. I know Michelangelo Buonarotti’s name, and haven’t (yet) been accused of reaching beyond my scope because of it. Besides, perhaps we can find your own work on the web and compare, and make some constructive conclusions. You seem to forget that this discussion is public and, because no one knows who you are, readers (myself included) can interpret your responses as anger enveloped envy towards a successful artist. Please, be so kind as to reveal your identity — it will be the strongest argument you could make to support your view. Surely they teach such common sense in Florence, Italy?

    Just in case, here’s a link to Sandra Flood’s CV/Bio page, where it’s stated that she is a self-taught artist: http://sandraflood.artspan.com/mbr_bio.php#.UrHzGeL85RY

    Second, I would like to ask for a more concrete evidence to your criticism. You say the work is poorly done — can you show exactly how on one of the paintings? Can you say why is it wrong to paint from photographs — wasn’t that a common practice already in late 19th century (Edgar Degas)? Can you point to where the medium is used incorrectly or in an ignorant fashion? And last but not least, would you like to address Sandra Flood directly (or me contact her on your behalf) — perhaps she will be interested to know you opinion?

    Thanks, and looking forward to your reply,
    Elijah

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