Sunday, October 26, 2008

Arnold Turtle : Music of the Brush

I've been looking forward
to the Arnold Turtle (1892-1954) exhibit
at my art club (the Palette and Chisel)
ever since the above piece
was first shown at a members' meeting
early this year.

It 's beauty was the one thing about which
everyone in our quarrelsome group could agree.

But when the entire show
finally went up this weekend,
I was somewhat disappointed
that the rest of the pieces
didn't quite make that same impact
in a room

and yet, as I was downloading
the pictures I took yesterday,
I realized that up-close
in detail,
these painting were quite exciting.

Turtle was not just cranking out landscapes
for the over-the-sofa market.

He was offering some quite musical meditations
(as indeed, his earlier interest
had been the composition of music)

this one doesn't look so bad
when reduced to a small jpg

but it's detail is even better -
as a kind of multi-chrome

I'm less happy with his portraits,
perhaps because I just can't see the brushstrokes
behind the human figure.

or perhaps because this
background just feels so dead
(does the piece need to be restored?)

but still,
it's the areas of detail
that I find the most enjoyable.

I haven't found any more details about
Turtle's life,
but I suspect that he was just
a few years away
from becoming an abstract expressionist.


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