Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Travail" by Tames Oud

The movement in this composition reminds me of Thomas Benton's landscapes of the American heartland. Though the zebra patterns and simple yet expressive linework remind me that this is something more exotic (and certainly not as romantic or melodramatic as Benton's paintings.) The villagers are in total harmony with their environment. They move in the direction that the trees bend and billow, like smoke. The curves and patterns in their robes match the curves of the rolling land. The roofs of houses, a wheel, and the solid black shape of the sky catch the eye of the viewer more readily than the human beings in this picture. Indeed, we don't even get a glimpse of their faces, as they march steadily away, the tools of their work in hand. Everything moves in an anonymous and fleeting sort of way, as if the whole image is just a memory. A bold, but flickering impression.

1/22/12 Update: This blog post had an error. I had used the title "Village Life." The artist's great nephew emailed me and informed me that the accurate title of this print is "Travail" meaning work.

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