Saturday, August 27, 2016
Saturday fun activity: Where IS this?
The problem with paintings in public spaces is they tend to be garish modern works of the lowest quality, bought no doubt by the square meter from art farms in China. Or generic seascapes in doctors' office, of similarly bland, lifeless, unaesthetic works, a vast assemblage of the unskilled and the unmemorable.
Then there is this, spied in a public building in one of the suburbs ringing Chicago. It caught my eye for the almost Seurat-like pointillist style, the nice use of complimentary colors, green and orange, and the lovely young lady in the center who is, upon second glance, doing something quite out-of-the-ordinary.
Yes, there is a certain amateurism about it—that's a hint—if you look to the left to the rude rides of grassland abruptly yielding to brown, like a stripe in a flag, the way the water seems to pull up a foot from it, or how the young lady seems to be more hovering above the water than sitting on the grass.
So where is this? I'll give you another hint: it's not in a museum, obviously, though I suppose it could get away with being folk art. A difficult challenge requires a better-than-usual prize, so no poster. The winner gets a copy of my new book, "Out of the Wreck I Rise: A Literary Companion to Recovery," written with Sara Bader, and published a week from Monday by the University of Chicago Press. Place your answers below, and good luck.
An alert reader, Tate, points out that this painting is an homage to Pissarro's "Woman Bathing Her Feet in a Brook" in the Art Institute.