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My first reaction to coming across Self Portrait with Cigarette was to laugh out loud at the title. The figurative reference, which is questionably discernable, is buried amidst a mass of dark and dripping shadow. The large shape of the shadow/smoke forms what could be a head, with small openings of orange backgrounds in the bottom corners. There relatively small openings of space provide visual rest, and a fresh break from the dominant mass. I share Jay Zerbe’s previous admiration of the transparency of form and color. Without the title, the piece certainly functions as a bold abstraction. The smoky mass suggests the buildup of a natural or man-made disaster, if we assume the bottom of the painting as horizon. Media and scale aren’t noted, but I imagine the piece as having a commanding physical presence. I realize it was posted many years ago, among a broad range of painterly approaches. As we come closing in on another calendar year, I do hope to see more of your work on the site.
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Ms Kristen T. Woodward critiques of members art.
Wide Open 10
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