Elizabeth in Iceland, 2007; Oil, 22” x 28”
Ellen Price Egan
Lost, 2001; C print, 20” x 30”
Dog Suit, 2008; Oil on canvas, 20” x 16”
Kent O’Connor’s Dog Suit establishes a more conversational relationship with the viewer. The male subject, with a slightly furrowed brow, angular facial features, and a five-o-clock shadow meets the gaze of the viewer. If not for the spotted sweatshirt and floppy ears, one might perceive the figure to be a boxer hoping to intimidate his next opponent. Indeed, the dog suit adds a layer of meaning to his thought-process: perhaps he is more embarrassed than angry, though the balance is tenuous. Because of this tension, a viewer can sympathetically return his gaze, assured that someone else will pay the consequences for dressing him in a dog suit.
Adam, 2006; Oil, 24” x 30”
Conversely, peering at someone who is asleep has long intrigued the voyeur in us all. Brianne Dade has painted Adam reclining on a sofa with his eyes shut, eschewing the presence of the viewer. Comparable to Heard’s painting, the well-executed contrast in colors creates a feeling of uneasiness as the maroon pillow exacerbates the eerie yellows of Adam’s face. Dade emphasizes Adam’s face and upper torso by cropping out the rest of his body. Forced into an intimate space with such a dynamically portrayed subject, one cannot help wondering what he might be dreaming. To be sure, Dade could have merely painted Adam while he had the flu. However, the intense colors and Adam’s vulnerable position suggest that Adam is experiencing a disturbing slumber. Dade has cleverly established an overall feeling of agitation.
Emma Sky Wolf
The Dreaming Seat, 2008; Ink, acrylic and digital media, 16” x 20”
For Emma Sky Wolf, a sleeping figure can appear peaceful. In The Dreaming Seat, soothing tones of grey, teal and blue suggest harmony. Furthermore, the young girl smiles in her sleep, making clear that her dreams are pleasant. Her exact location is uncertain, possibly in her own backyard or on a park bench. The painting does not need to include such details; rather, a seemingly limitless blue sky cushions the girl and encourages her daydreams.
What sense can be made of pondering others as they ponder? As we attempt to interpret the tacit elements of a painting, we begin to connect to them in unexpected ways. The All Arlington Salon includes many more paintings that incite open-ended questions. Despite the impressive number of works and their range in subject matter, size and medium, visitors can search for thematic threads that run throughout the gallery and unite the artists of Arlington.