top Looking for Happiness

This is a rather impressive format: measuring just under 200x200cm (about 43sq foot) this work stands out not only through it’s size but also through the subject matter that the artist has chosen to depict. Out of a purple blue sea-like sky-scape that stretches from side to side of the canvas, a massive amount of weirdly sized animals of all kinds emerges. Giraffes (more than 4), elephants, rats and mice, tigers and zebras, rabbits and panthers and roosters and hens, ducks and cats and dogs and monkeys all mashed into a gathering – like marching towards a common purpose or a common destination from the left side of the painting and crossing the middle line led by a courageous white sheep and an elephant. On first glance, one can clearly see that the animals are oddly sized – the roosters are bigger than the elephants, the deer is smaller than the cat and the giraffes are barely taller than their rodent friends. Though weirdly sized, all animals of this wild bunch seem to belong together in a very familiar and friendly way. There’s an eerie silence in their look and the way all of them face the right side of the canvas. This eerie look is reinforced when we go even further to the right and discover a road sign that says: “OBEY THIS SIGN”. Picked straight from a Hollywood movie, this sign stretches past the tallest of the animals and faces them directly – as if to act as a barrier on their path. This idea is reinforced by the purple dark shadow projected by the sign on the ground right in front of the animal flock – a somber reminder that this line must not be crossed. It is worth noting that the sign itself is painted in cheerful colors – pink hues and light green notes, orange accents and yellow bursts of color seem to state that this sign does not take itself too seriously. Right behind the sign, a second part of the composition is visible: it is a seascape image of two bathers at shore next to a tree. The shore is painted with thick yellow and pink strokes suggesting a rough terrain and sharp edges under a scorching sunny light. Further back, the tree which provides almost no shadow, is painted using a palette knife to scratch a thick layer of purple paint to reveal the under painting dark-brown layer symbolizing the wet tree-bark. One of the more mysterious scenes in the entire painting is the presence of the two bathers – a man and a woman - in the middle of the image. Their back turned to us, they seem absorbed by the landscape and almost unaware of what is happening right behind them. As if to strike this point even more poignantly, the way they are painted as if they almost vanish in the landscape is a reminder of the distance and barrier between the foreground and the background – symbolically creating a second barrier between the two parts of the composition.