By Christopher Peak
This painting is titled Young Life by Bo Bartlett.
Bo Bartlett is an American Realist artist who manages to capture the shrouding essence of American life within various lenses of the postmodern world. He has various other paintings that encapsulate a different outlook and view on the existential managing of day to day life within the American labelling of freedom. My favorite attribute about this artist is that he understands freedom is within the individuals understanding of what it means to be free, as every painting he creates is a unique and different tale of an American reality.
I chose this painting to be represented in this blog post because it is my favorite painting. I believe the beautiful object within this painting is not a nude form of ecstasy or innocence but an illusive mirage of normalcy that has been uprooted within the postmodern era. The beautiful object in this painting is not an object but a state of being, as the painting resembles a sense of reality. Judging from their clothing and vehicle, to the purpose of deer hunting, these people are not wealthy figures, most likely resulting in some form of a life filled with struggle. This sense of reality I believe is more beautiful than a neopagan renaissance rendition of a woman’s form. (Not taking shots, just my opinion). There are plenty of 19th century French Orientalist paintings where I could explain how beautiful the woman form is portrayed, but I believe it only highlights our intuition of not a lustful desire but a primal attraction towards being bare. While the renaissance can receive credit for attempting to remove the neutering of nudity done by Christianity in order to revive a Greek sense of ideals within art, I believe paintings like these are more representative of a soulful reflection, as the latter are more of a protruding promethean, and almost Faustian sense of European ideals.
I was moved by this photo as I stated before, it provokes a sense of existentialist emotions. While the painting is beautiful in its own way, it provides a life that may be long gone or possibly not feasible anymore. Sorry for getting “political” of some sorts, but the choices between getting a inner city job for large amounts of money or to stay rural for less mean a lot for me, as I see this painting as a representation of the rural. With the issues of modernity and all its flaws, this family of three with a simple life in the middle of nowhere pulls my soul and captures it without having to say a word. It provides me with a sense of happiness as it removes all external issues of the present and transports me towards feelings of a utopian stable world. The feelings later result towards the opposite scale and start to feel saddening once the external issues of the present slowly start to come back into the light. It is a little bit of a double edged sword, and I believe this is crucial to the painting as one shouldn’t get entangled in one side of the story, or as in the video, “start making love to the statue”. This is possibly why Botticelli left imperfections within his perfect painting, as a balance is needed.
I would say the impact of this painting has been the most impactful piece of art in my life. I saw this painting maybe over four years ago and its completely changed my impression on my future plans of who I wanted to be and what I wanted to be. To relate it to our classwork, this painting as reminded me of the things I lack, and the things I want, as well as the daunting aspect of nature in terms of a wife, children and ultimately family. It is a reminder to myself of what it means to carry on something aside from my theological soul, but a sense of my material self on canvas, the endless tradition of a family which what we learned in class, was the key to immortality.