Saturday, August 9, 2014

Surrealism (pt. 8)

It was works such as the Harlequin that helped make the Spanish artist a major figure in 20th century art, but Miró's later paintings turned more stylistically to Surrealist abstraction, as in his Women Encircled by the Flight of a Bird, from 1941.
You have to look really close at this painting to find the women and the path of the bird's flight, but trust me, they are there.  Large triangles indicate the women's dresses—the problem is that the lines of the triangles are drawn so thinly that you can barely see them.  There are at least three women and a cat in the painting (the cat in the bottom right corner) which I can see—and I had help from my art history teacher.  The black hourglass shapes which surround the work could refer to the flapping wings of the bird, and the other squiggly lines indicate the bird's "encircling" flight pattern around the elusive women.  What at first looks abstract begins to barely tinge with reality, or a faint wisp of reality.  So, it's not Abstract Art; the subject is there to be seen (and in the title).  It's not Non-Objective, but the strangeness of presentation takes us into a fantastical world of colors and shapes.  Perhaps this is the surrealistic experience of looking into a painting.  For when we look at art we are looking for extracted details close to or resembling reality but which exist in a fictional, two-dimensional world of visual reception and cognition.  And you may look at paintings such as this and never know what you are really seeing (in this case, shapes of women and a fluttering bird).  This can be true thematically as well—in other words, what the artist means or intends to convey through the bird and women—and other artists would delve into these concepts further.

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