Shana Kaplow is a visual artist based in the Twin Cities. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.
My first impression looking at the painting was just how lush it is and how incredibly dappled the light is, which is for me really what takes me into the painting. It’s very, it’s structured based on the movement of light through the room, this very lush, elaborately cushioned and patterned space. It made me think about how soft it felt, like that there is a lot of layers of fabric, a lot of pattern, a lot of reflective light which I think is silk and gold thread in the fabrics, a gilded frame and reflective objects in the space.
I thought it was really interesting how he is using two different techniques to create light in the painting, one is with value which is the use of lights or whites in the painting but the other thing he is doing is a use of saturation or chroma. So he is using really bright reds and yellows and blues and greens in the foreground to really move the light across the surface of the image. So those rich colors which are higher saturated colors tend to make the light feel like it’s glowing or that it’s actually really illuminated. It was pretty amazing to be able to make a painting that felt like light. That it could emit light.
The surface of the painting holds that kind of brightness of light. And then in the deeper spaces of the painting, he really pulls you in with this sort of reflected almost hints at things that you can’t really tell what they are so that there is almost this cave like feeling in the back of the painting. So he moves your eye across not only the surface of the painting but also pulls you back into the space and the sort of crevasses. There is a circular kind of movement through the painting just following their gazes. And it does really implicate the painter or who is now the viewer which is me or us. I always tell my students that they are the viewer not just the painter. So that that circle goes from inside the painting out to us and back into the painting.
There is a space in the back of the paining that feels very hidden from view, it’s very dark, it’s in the center of the painting and for me that’s kind of a psychological space. It means something more than just what we are seeing that it feels like it’s about what can’t be seen or what isn’t supposed to be seen that there is something sort of rare and secret about that space. But there is also this red closet door that’s just barely open which to me is very suggestive. Those red doors to me in the back are just very, you know it’s like an innuendo almost.
What did Delacroix experience being in a place that was off limits to western men? The Green button will share Shana’s insights.