Fine Art Connoisseur


Since 1991, the Denver Art Museum has acquired a painting by the Colorado artist Daniel Sprick (b. 1953) every decade. The first of them, My Metaphysical Adventure (1991), is dominated by the fat comfort of red and white drapery and the contented symbols of bourgeois life: a teacup; a Persian rug on the table, borrowed from an interior scene painted by Jan van Eyck; a healthy potted plant; a burning incense stick, with its scented smoke drifting upward. This scene is full, rich, and beautifully painted. Yet its title describes instead a revelatory journey Sprick had begun recently; the decapitated, handless, and footless mannequin in the distance, the toothy mask on the wall, and the hooded apparition in the cloth at left are all ominous signs of disquiet, of discomfort with the material world’s luxuries.

The museum’s second Sprick acquisition, (2001), is an allegory that stops most visitors in their tracks. In it the artist finds his way through the everyday conceits of ordinary still life painting by presenting the magical mechanics and fantastic unrealities of a stringed arrangement. His composition is a delicate Rube Goldberg strung together like a folk-charm, a collection of unstable and barely

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