Sally Porter's Web Log
The Brilliance of Kokoschka’s Bride of the Wind (1914) 
Monday, February 22, 2010, 03:35 PM - General
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In 1914, Oskar Kokoschka painted himself and the love of his life, Alma Mahler, in the expressionist masterpiece Bride of the Wind (1914). During their tempestuous relationship, the previously widowed Alma rejected his multiple proposals for marriage, eventually marrying the famous architect and founder of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius. During his life, Kokoschka never ceased devotion to his love, Alma.

In homage to his love, Kokoschka began the painting to become known as Bride of the Wind or The Tempest. The large canvas, 71 1/4” x 86 5/8”, allowed Kokoschka to physically immerse himself in the creation of this passionate universe. He and Alma are alone with the purple mountains in the distance, lit by a shining moon eclipsed by a black sun and entombed amid the swirling, crashing waves of paint.

Alma rests beside him like a specter in pale whites and silvery, almost metallic grays, with eyes closed, sleeping peacefully. Kokoschka is awake with a troubled stare consuming his visage, covered in brutish strokes of gray, blue, rose and rust. In this moment, they are together, protected from the stormy currents by an arch of multi-colored, knotted brushstrokes above their heads. Their bodies are covered in shimmering sheets of white reflecting muted blue-greens and brilliant blues, with touches of olive and lime greens from the surrounding roiling sea. An electrical storm of emotion grips the couple in their nocturnal embrace amid the water.

Oskar created a place of being where Alma would remain his forever in this timeless painting of two lovers in embrace.

Sally Porter

Sally Porter Gallery ... ll/all/all

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Porter’s Meta Expressionism & Rothko’s Desire for Tears  
Friday, February 5, 2010, 08:51 PM - General
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Mark Rothko, one of the great abstract expressionists, desired people to break down and cry before his paintings. He stated, ”The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationship, then you miss the point.” Every successful painting makes a spiritual connection with the viewer. The spiritual component of the connection is instantaneous and defies logical analysis. It’s a feeling of understanding and prior knowledge, either completely satisfying or igniting an inner quest, enriching one’s existence.

Rothko’s development as a painter took him on a trip from figuration, as in Entrance to Subway, 1938, through a brush with mythmaking, into Surrealism, and eventually to his color paintings of pure emotion, exploiting the vagaries of humanity such as “tragedy, ecstasy, and doom”. My paintings also engage on a spiritual level with an awareness of color and pattern. Meta expressionist paintings explore conceptual ideas and deliberate actions of mark making (will), as well as the spiritual components of freedom and emotion. The exposition of pattern is becoming more pronounced in my work. Just as Rothko discovered color as a means to spirituality, pattern itself is another path.

Painting the darker and passionate side of being as Rothko chose to do is only one of an infinite number of choices to forge the spiritual connection with the viewer. Optimism and intellectualism are but two others. Meta expressionism explores the inner chasm of reality, enabling the paintings to appropriate buried messages from within the artist, and open the possibility of communicating them to the viewer.

Every person is ultimately spirit, naturally drawn to the artists whose work either merely touches or completely envelopes their own field of knowledge and experience, inclusive of emotion.

Sally Porter

Sally Porter Gallery ... ll/all/all

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Picasso’s Self Portrait with Cloak, 1901/02 
Friday, January 29, 2010, 07:57 PM - General
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Picasso’s Self Portrait with Cloak, painted in 1901/02, is part of his blue period work. The background is drenched in a muted turquoise blue scrubbed into an olive green. His full, dark brownish black hair and stylishly trimmed beard frame the ghoulishly white face with the high, prominent cheek bones. His long, dark cloak wraps him in mystery. His facial expression is almost haughty, eyes staring forward.

Picasso paints himself as a vampire of the night, completely drained of blood, cold and heartless, with only his red lips revealing a taste for passion.

Sally Porter

Sally Porter Gallery ... ll/all/all

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Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights - The Paradise Panel 
Tuesday, January 12, 2010, 08:53 AM - General
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The left panel of Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, painted in 1503 - 1504, is titled Paradise or Eden. This one work is comprised of multiple masterpieces.

In the lower portion of the painting, you have an incarnation of God, fully clothed, standing in a lovely green meadow, flanked on either side by his very pale, grown children, Adam and Eve. In the forefront is a pond of amazing creatures emerging from a dark pond, including a triple headed bird, a fish with wings, and a duck wearing a monk’s hood reading his prayer book. Was Bosch having a visionary precognition of the theory of evolution?

In the middle area of the painting is a pale pink, very futuristic looking fountain arising from the middle of a second pond. A light gray giraffe and an elephant stand out as two of the larger animals in this mostly peaceful depiction of nature. Looking closer, we see a rather small lion devouring an antelope in the background, but there is no blood or carnage depicted here; the lion is merely having his supper.

The fountain area leads into another body of water to the left. What do we find drinking at the water’s edge amongst other horned friends? It’s none other than a white unicorn, sipping at the blue water and leisurely snapping her tail.

In the uppermost, left passage, sits a yellow mountain in front of a small blue mountain range. From the cave of this yellow mountain, a flock of birds comes rushing out. They swirl up and through a sculpture on top of the cave, which in turn is topped by two tall, pointed towers of rock. Their silhouette brings to mind the Empire State building and the Manhattan skyline.

Bosch blended iconic cultural images with images from nature and his creative consciousness to give us a timeless painting full of fascination and leaves us admiring this visual representation of the self.

Sally Porter

Sally Porter Gallery ... ll/all/all
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Picasso’s Woman with a Flower, 1932 
Friday, January 8, 2010, 03:45 PM - General
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Picasso’s Woman with a Flower, 1932, brings a smile to my face. He portrays her body as large, boulder-like shapes, stacked one upon the other. The full, rich red, blue and orange-yellow of these colored rocks provide a cheerful balance to her purple face and blond yellow ponytail. Her face is a cartoon on the surface of a gray rock. The squared neck is as sturdy as Arnold’s with its bold vertical yellow and gray stripes. She is youthful with hard-headed resolve.

Picasso treats her arms like two purple elephant trunks, her left holding the green twisting stem of an utterly plain flower, whose beauty simply does not compare with the woman’s.

The simple, large shapes contribute to the enjoyment of the great colors in this work. Even the background, black on the left and dark brown on the right, completely enhances the figure and flower.

Mouth open, she appears to be talking. Is she commenting on her flower? Picasso is laughing and so am I.

Sally Porter
Sally Porter Gallery ... ll/all/all
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