Eye Of The Beholder
and the light-hearted approach to the subject matter and the sheer joy on Edna's face as she dips her foot in the water, emphasized by the almost pop-art handling of the exaggerated hues, shades and simplified shapes of the background shrubbery brings to mind James Rosenquist in his early days or his brother-in-law, Herbie Lundqvist, the Herring King of Brooklyn, New York and an artist in his own right who did marvelous things with dried noodles and spray paint. It is interesting to see the echoing of the two red flowers in the foreground with the red flower in Edna's hair, as if Edna has been fully integrated into the natural world and even her breasts in all their fullness appear to be blooming with little buds of nipples that most caterpillars would give an arm and a leg for (or a leg and a leg really), but the greyish area upon which she sits no doubt hides the horrible moss people and so again the drama of good and evil is played out against a pastoral backdrop. Anyway, if I wasn't already a painting sniffer, I would've sniffed this one when no one was looking. Between the flowers and breasts and cool water I just wanted to smell and smell and smell this painting forever.
"Ah, who th'fuck cares? How'bout Lance and Gertie Get It On In Dr. Rangoosh's Dental Office. How 'bout that, you ugly piece'a shit? Where are you? Where'd you go? Christ, I think this wine made me blind again. Fuck, what happened to your head? You got no head."
"It's okay, Litvack," I soothed him. "The rest of me is under this chair."
"Well shit, don't do that to me again. I'll kill you if you do. I'll cut your goddamn head off and feed it to my poodles."
Speaking of poodles, in these last two paintings, or what I could see of them from under the chair, Litvack incorporated broad, masculine brushstrokes as if to extinguish the more gentle, feminine forms even though he chose a red chair and drapery to showcase the dogs and evoke a cut-rate brothel on the outskirts of Baffin Bay. The chiaroscuro (an art term and also a Brazilian meat) is in full effect, as if to negate the influence of the postmodern thingamajig, high contrast giving way to more subtle blending saying to the viewer, "Look at me. I am poodle. In shadow and in light, I shall always be. Poodle, poodle, that's me."
We finished off a third Pepsi bottle of Litvack's wine that he had hidden in his garbage bag and we chatted some more about art and life as we lay on the floor, but then Litvack became enraged when I wouldn't buy one of his paintings. We both stood up, with some difficulty, Litvack drooling, and then he came at me and broke one of the paintings over my head. I went down quickly, sitting up against the chair as Litvack broke another and then another painting over my head. Ah, the artistic temperament. That's about when I blacked out and when I came to I was on the front lawn in my boxer shorts, a police car nearby and Litvack was handcuffed and vomiting prodigiously into a can of house paint. And suddenly it all came clear to me. Litvack was taking his discipline one step further, into the realm of performance art, destroying his work and thus his own self, erasing his history until nothing remained but the tattered remains of nudes and poodles and vomit in a paint can.
"Be careful with him," I called to the officer as he steered Litvack into the back of the police car. "He's a great artist."
"Judging by what he left in that paint can, Picasso he ain't. Jackson Pollack maybe," the cop said and then he took Litvack away.
Everybody's a critic these days.