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New Pastel in the “Passages” Series

IMAGE: Passages 7, pastel, © Victoria Taylor-Gore, 2007

Passages 7 is another pastel in the “Passages” series. There is an easel with a painting of a boat inside the door – not the first time an artist has included a painting within a painting, and the easel for me is a reference to the process of making art, the magic of illusion, the creative act of visualizing another world where it did not exist before. Of course, there is also the power of repetition – I emphasize the importance of the boat by presenting it outside and then again in the painting inside the house.

In The Human Condition by Magritte, Magritte (Belgian Surrealist artist, 20th century) uses the image of a painting on an easel in front of a door, and the painting blends into its own theme of the seascape behind. My placement of the easel in my work is never as tricky as Magritte’s visual interplay of reality and image – I just present an alternative world of quiet symbols and let the viewer make connections.

In The Artist in His Studio by Rembrandt, Rembrandt (Dutch Baroque artist, 17th century) stands in his studio across from one of his paintings on a large easel. Rembrandt has turned the painting on the easel away from us. I don’t think he is playing tricks on us like Magritte does – instead he is just telling us about the personal connection between an artist and his work. I love the simplicity of this work – we see Rembrandt in the act of contemplating his own work, with nothing in between him and the painting except a mysterious light. Even though I don’t paint myself directly in my work, the inclusion of a painting within a painting in my work also represents my connection to my work.

In Las Meninas by Velazquez, Velasquez (Spanish Baroque artist, 17th century) also turns a large canvas away from us in Las Meninas. He looks directly out at us as he paints, as if we were the subjects of his enormous painting. He deliberately wraps us up in the content and the illusion of the painting…he not only presents another reality to us, he magically zaps us into the work itself. What Velasquez does in this work amazes me. If I get someone to visually explore my work, it is only by an open invitation – leaving figures out so that the viewer can freely enter the space and pull up a chair!


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