Friday, November 6, 2015

"Under the Sky" by Coco Berkman

Image posted with the artist's permission. More about the artist and her works can be found on her website and her online store StageFortPress.

I fell in love with Coco Berkman's work (her color reduction linocuts in particular) last year, but have only gotten around to writing about a piece on my blog now because I had too much trouble selecting a single piece to write about. Recently I looked at Berkman's work again and this print finally jumped out at me as one I especially want to feature.

Berkman wrote me this about the piece:

"I created it for a group show entitled 'The individual in the community', and the image comes from a stream of consciousness drawing in my sketchbook. I used only 3 colors but I think the simple color palette adds a special poetry to the image."

The idea of the "individual in the community" resonates with me as I view this image. I feel it is full of potent contradictions. The greenish-blue is somewhat drab, yet the purple is a cheery shade. All emphasis is on the portrait - the people in the background barely noticeable. Her face smack in the middle of the composition, yet cut through the center by the horizon. The substance of her body is dissolved into the landscape by a pattern of flowers and her facial features are like wobbly playground structures. There is loneliness even in a crowd.

I am reminded of this quote from Wendy Mass's The Candymakers:

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about."

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