A train of thought:
A Favorite Bechtle
Robert Bechtle’s work is very “realistic,” but his compositions can be so deftly out of left field that the effect verges on the abstract.
As here, in “Potrero Table” (1994). All the shapes are deliciously realized–run your eye around the table and the chairs, the plates, the light window frame shape that just touches the far chair. The reflections in the windows. Every shape is considered and important in itself. Nothing is awkward or “left over.”
And there’s that psychological element. Where are they looking? And why? It’s not a story, but not just a pose, either.
All very rich and satisfying.
Peanuts Gone Wrong
I will not be going to see the new Peanuts movie, which, to judge from on-line stills like the one below, will be like bathing in some icky visual goo. Part of the genius of Peanuts inventor Charles Schulz was his economy of means. This the movie has abandoned, perhaps thinking to add richness. But here, for example–what does the cutsie landscape have to do with anything?
For better or worse, every bit of information in a work of art is part of the overall effect. In Schulz’s drawings you have the figures, the merest indication of the ground, and the text. Nothing else–no background, nothing to distract from the action.
But in the movie we’re looking at trees, grass, plants, rocks, an artfully winding path, sky, balloon-y rendering of figures (with painted-on features)–football–Lucy’s glossy dress–everything limply and pedantically detailed–which set the eye off on irrelevant detours, all watering, and therefore detracting from, the central event. A fundamental contradiction of ends and means. A great mistake.
[On a similar train of thought, see the entry for November 14: debate cacophonies. The principle is the same: too much inane visual information simply gets in the way.]