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. 


  1. I really like this painting. It is at Northwestern U. Career Advancement, Lincoln Street, Evanston, IL.

  2. Bingo. "Woman Bathing Her Feet" by Cheri Fakes, class of 2006 (now an artist in Addison). I saw it in Norris Center, but I imagine it could move around, and the Career Advancement Center is close enough. Send me your address at Congrats, hope you like the book.

  3. I looked up "Woman Bathing Her Feet" and found a painting by Camille Pissarro that's in the Art Institute. Cheri Fakes (a real name?) obviously did her painting as homage to Pissarro's since they're almost identical except for the feet themselves.


    1. Well done. I plugged in "Woman bathing prosthetics" -- which I figured, not knowing the title, people would try, and saw it wasn't given away immediately, which is my primary concern. I'll post the Pissarro painting.

  4. Wow, glad "tate" found the Pissarro painting; it brings a lot more context when considering and comparing the two works of art.

    I'm also glad I now know what the word is (pointillist) that describes the "dots-making-an-image" style of painting.


  5. And Chicago has the good fortune to be home to the most famous example of work by the inventor of the technique.

    Tom Evans

  6. That was an excellent "Where IS this?" Interesting twist on Pissarro's painting by Cheri Fakes.


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