Missing Peace 11
Missing Peace 11 Brightened.jpg

"Missing Peace #11 is a work of art that says much in a very subtle language, and what it says is very moving, though what moves us may not be articulated in words. It does what art can do but not words; reach us emotionally, without being bound by the limitations of language. The title is like the title of a poem, directing our thoughts toward somber feelings that have to do with war and peace, feelings that are exorcised by the sheer beauty of Missing Peace No. 11.

While the overall shape might have been derived from the purity of geometry, that purity survives here only as a memory, acting in opposition to the ragged, roughly torn edges, and the aggressive, worn texture of the surface. The vivid tactile nature of this texture affects every passage in the work, making the form, for all its internal variety, a single fabric, in the way a painting by Monet is unified by the overall texture of the paint. The parts meld together to form a single entity, unity being a requirement of works of art that qualify as great. There is a wonderful sense of the stars either sinking into, or emerging from the surface while remaining integral to it. Not coincidentally, the star form, when clearly drawn with straight lines, refers to the golden proportion of the overall shape, since each line of a pentagram is divided at the golden ratio point. This can still be made out in the star forms, even as they seem to be dissolving before our eyes. At the same time the stars set up subtle diagonal forces within the composition which lead to an interaction with the edges. This is particularly clear in the left hand star, where a diagonal line leads to one side of the cut-out on the left border of the work, while the cut out itself is a shape in harmony with the left side of the stars. This all has to do with what one should look for in any true work of art - the order, the harmonizing and unifying factors which separate art from non-art things.

 

But there are also here the tensions introduced by the lesser passages, which contrast with and pull against the dominant sense of order in the compositional theme. The diagonals in the stars oppose the right angles of the corners; the ragged borders introduce, into this ordered scheme, the randomness of forms in nature. It is the tensions generated by these contrasts that produce the powerful energy behind the great beauty we experience in Missing Peace No. 11."

-Professor Emeritus James K. Kettlewell, Skidmore College

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