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THE Magagazine
'ART FORUM' February / March 2016
 
 

THE MAGAZINE ASKED A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND TWO PEOPLE WHO LOVE ART FOR THEIR TAKE ON THIS 2015 OIL-ON-CANVAS PAINTING—DEPARTURE— BY GEOFFREY LAURENCE. THEY WERE SHOWN ONLY THE IMAGE AND WERE GIVEN NO OTHER INFORMATION.

A private, quiet moment is caught before our eyes. Spot lighting further fuels our sense of intimacy with this young (vintage) female subject. She mournfully holds a white flower, as if in prayer. Did someone pass away? White flowers often symbolize grief and mourning. Indeed, a somber emotional tone pervades this entire monochromatic work. Perhaps she is in the process of moving her home. The box, the suitcase, and the turned-over artwork all suggest she is packing her belongings. Yet, is this her childhood home or her adult dwelling? Was it her parents or other family members who
recently died? The menorah's presence implies she may be Jewish. While Chanukah is traditionally celebrated by Jews of all ages, it is most often associated with childhood and family (in addition to symbolizing divine light). Psychologically, the fact that she is barefooted is particularly striking. Indeed, she is metaphorically finding her footing as she goes through upheaval. Lastly, the exalted man behind her may be Moses with the two figures representing the "children of Israel." His distinguished appearance with an ecstatic expression starkly contrasts with her humble, solemn manner. Overall,
we see a lonesome woman in transition. Where will she go
next? Who will she become?
—Davis K. Brimberg, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist

The girl sits gazing at the flower her father had given her. She remembers his words, "whatever happens you will always be my Rose." Sadness sweeps over her knowing that the life they had shared was over. They can take only one small suitcase each. A few smaller masterpieces were taken off the walls in a hurry, and the precious menorah and silver cup that had been in their family for generations were thrown into a box, in hopes of hiding them from pilferers. But the large Michelangelo could not be hidden. The dying man in the painting reminds Rose of her father—his faith always uplifting him. She was not so sure of his God, who rained so much suffering down on them. For her, the whole world exists in that flower, the budding of promise, the intoxicating scent of attraction, the offering of pollen and nectar, the magnificence of full bloom, the glorious drifting of petals from the fading rose, and then, finally, a memory of all that had been. For her, the sublime creative force of nature was God. This other manmade God who made impossible rules, who separated mankind, and who brought about persecution was not one to love. It was that one, still, quiet moment, absorbing the beauty of the rose in her hand, that she believed in.
—Lisa de St. Croix, Metaphysical Artist

This superbly painted narrative brings an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia to me. As I was once a young woman—a student of art far from home, entering the world of art, cautiously and carefully experimenting with my desire to express emotional intelligence and complexity, into a self satisfying formation and style. In this painting, a young woman sits alone with her suitcase, representing segregated home, family, friends, and security. Behind her suitcase are paintings that face a wall representing, perhaps, her first attempts at honing her craft? A cardboard box, full of objects, resides in the foreground; this represents her personal heritage which will eventually reflect itself within her art making. Behind the woman is a large, dramatically composed painting, which comments on the rich heritage and art history that she is required to contemplate within her learning experiences. Finally, there is the lamp beside her that floods the scene with soft illumination. She sits casually and barefoot on a small chair, holding a white rose in her hands that symbolizes the unparalleled, perfect beauty of Nature. This painting is a stunning expression of what it is like to enter the art world as a woman. It is about learning one's craft within the confines of mostly patriarchal institutions; it is about willingly exposing oneself to judgment, about going out into the world to make a living from acquired skills—a daunting task for a woman as an artist. It reminds me that the rose, contemplated, keeps the heart centered."
—Penelope Nicolopous, Santa Fe

© THE Magazine 2016

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