Sally Porter's Web Log
Picasso's Bullfight: Death of the Toreador, 1933 and Bullfight (Corrida), 1934 
Wednesday, April 8, 2009, 07:54 AM - General
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Picasso's two bullfight paintings, Bullfight: Death of the Toreador, 1933 and Bullfight (Corrida), 1934, are two variations of the same subject with different emotional impact.

In the 1933 painting, the horse, the bull, and the decapitated bullfighter are three actors performing on the stage of the bullring. First, we notice the disemboweled pale horse of death, still on its feet, but in obvious agony. Out of nowhere, the charging bull appears in a fury of fluttering red cape. We finally notice the decapitated bullfighter who has lost his head in an effort to subdue the charging black beast. The animals in this painting are given more importance than the human. The white horse and the black bull represent the struggle between good and evil. The bullfighter is overwhelmed and has lost his head in the struggle. This is a private moment in a public space, with no audience present to witness the event.

The following year, Picasso paints the same scene. A bullfight. This time he eliminates the human figure altogether; he has assimilated the animal and become the bull. The savage bull is trampling the broken screaming horse; the sharp hooves of the bull are crushing the animal below. The face of the bull expresses raving fury. The drama and emotion is heightened in this painting over the first.

In the first version, great care was taken to paint the bull's head in a realistic style, modeling the nostrils and painting the individual hairs on the bull's head. Even the folds in the fabric and fringe of the toreador's sash are given much attention. These devices draw attention away from the action, reducing the emotional impact of the work.

In the 1934 painting, the reduction of forms to sharp geometric lines and simple, bold shapes sear the viewer with a strong, hard hitting image. Ghostly faces peer down from the stands (or from heaven?) at the spectacle of death below. The rage of the bull is felt as he engages in the act of destroying his victim.

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

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Picasso's Pitcher, Candle and Enamel Saucepan (1945) 
Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 08:32 AM
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Picasso's passion and dynamic vision show through even in his depiction of three common objects in Pitcher, Candle and Enamel Saucepan (1945). The figure eight curves of the white pitcher, the triangular side and pentagon top/front of the electric blue saucepan, and the golden cobra twisted around the base of the candle stick provide a virtual race track of shape and line for the eye to skim. Shadows lurk across the picture. You can feel the flickering light in this dark, quiet room as it bounces off the rust colored table top onto the objects above. As the light flickers, the cobra transforms into a french horn with a single valve protruding on the left, underneath the mouthpiece which holds the candle in place.

The flame burns strongly and brightly. The large eye of the pitcher's handle is echoed in the small black wick of the candle's flame. Picasso is sure and confidant as he feeds the viewer what he wishes to be seen.

Sally Porter
Sally Porter Gallery ... ll/all/all
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Porter's 109 Degrees & Klee's Ancient Sound, Abstract on Black  
Thursday, March 12, 2009, 07:31 AM - General
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My painting, entitled 109 Degrees, was strongly influenced by Paul Klee's paintings of squares. As a musician, he was aware of the mathematical base of musical harmony,discovered by the ancient Greeks. In Ancient Sound, Abstract on Black, he chose to cover his canvas in squares as a reference to this base and associate it with the music of color.

Similarly, my images in 109 Degrees are a metaphor for the underlying harmony and order of the natural world, represented here by the bee and the honeycomb. The squares in Klee's canvas have been replaced by hexagons in mine. In my painting, a large bee hovering over an orange field of hexagonal honeycomb dominates the canvas.

The bee is about to dive upon a geometrical flower-type, composed of six circles surrounding a central circle of the same size. Black lines, drawn between the circles, extend outward, emphasizing the geometrical abstract nature of this blossom. The flower-type is present as a reference to the origins of the hexagon. It always takes six circles to surround one circle, given the circles are of the same size.

Upon further examination, you notice the number 109 degrees 28 seconds in the open area at the top of the picture. This is an angle measurement. The second number, 70 degrees 32 seconds, represents the complementary angle measurement, which when added to the first, equals 180 degrees or the measure of a straight line. The open area represents the unnameable, higher order of reality where the concept of number and line originate.

The bee can be read as an archetype of all living things, carrying out its daily existence oblivious to the underlying order which supports existence itself.

Sally Porter
Sally Porter Gallery ... ll/all/all
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Spotlight on Contemporary Painter Kamrooz Aram 
Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 05:00 PM - General
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The contempoary painter in the spotlight for today is Kamrooz Aram. He uses some Iranian carpet patterns in his work, among other things. Very nice! You can see his work at

Happy viewing!

Sally Porter
Sally Porter Gallery ... ll/all/all
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Plato's Reptilian Form 
Saturday, February 28, 2009, 12:58 PM - General
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Patterns are all around us. They often go unnoticed or ignored. Plato's Reptilian Form is an image whose central character is a Red-eared Slider turtle. I used to have one of these turtles as a pet when I was a child. It was very docile, and I would hold it in the palm of my hand admiring how cute it was.

In the painting, opposite the turtle, is a tiny Komodo Dragon. In nature, Komodo Dragons are usually 8 feet long and have very sharp teeth. They don't mind feeding on humans, and they are very fast runners. In Plato's Reptilian Form, however, the dragon has been shrunk down to size so that the turtle is in control of this meeting. Fear is vanquished. The slider stares down the dragon in a perpetual standoff. Next to the turtle's foot is a mathematical function, f(x)=2, stating both of these animals are expressions of an underlying order.

The reptiles can be read as metaphors for people and controntation of fear. In any confrontation, minimizing the perception of aggression diminishes its power. Look for similarities rather than differences.

Extending the reptilian theme, the marks and shadows in the sand are those of another reptile, the crocodile. Nature is connected, and these connections resonate in the environment.

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

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