Thursday, September 3, 2009

Maude Kerns, Composition #22, Sharpness

Maude Kerns painted Sharpness in 1943. It's oil on canvas.
Nothing could have made me choose this piece- except my dear friend Lisa. Lisa is a scientist, she only visits museums when I don't give her a choice. If I can't go hiking or biking or out for a beer she has to roam the halls of art with me. Which she is starting to like. A few weeks ago we were tromping through the American gallery here at the Portland Art Museum when she saw this piece.
"Whoa, what is that?"
"It's a painting by Maude Kerns, it's abstract, it doesn't really represent anything" I said.
"Oh I see- that is a bird," she pointed to the figure with the blue halo around it's beak "and that is a tree," she said of the flattened green triangle that shoots upwards with angled black branches "and that is the moon," she said of the circle out on the horizon with light all around it, "and it is all happening at sea" she said, and suddenly I liked this piece in a way I had not discovered before.
Maude Kerns painted the Oregon Coast 35 years earlier in 1909. It is also part of the Portland Art Museum collection.

This week on 52 pieces we'll think about Maude Kerns and her oceans of work.

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