Gazebo By The Water

Gazebo By The Water        
Leonid Afremov (b. 1955)
Oil on Canvas, unknown.

CROE: so many colors!

TARBOT: I know, isn’t it absolutely delightful?
it makes me feel like I’m swimming in joy every time I look at it

CROE: it’s fun to look at from many distances, far away, and then zoomed in you can see all the spatula strokes, if that’s what they are called

TARBOT: yes, I love the bold strokes
it’s as if they bring motion and life to the whole thing

CROE: there’s a lot of different colors on each one
one thing that’s cool about it is the colors are so bright and vivid, yet it has a nighttime/evening feel
if you look in the reflection in the water of the structure with columns
there’s a yellow object

TARBOT: oooh, yeah
looks like there’s lots of different things in the reflections
that aren’t in the “real life” part of it
like near the center, in the water it looks much redder
but nothing really red on the ground to reflect it
just more white, green
something that looks like a gray box
so the artist
he utilizes knives
in his brush strokes

CROE: yeah?
like what kind of knives


CROE: well it’s not pointy
so i’m disappointed

they can be

CROE: that was what i was thinking of when i said spatula
in a vague sort of way


CROE: i wasn’t sure what they were called
if you look at the record, you’ll see that i did qualify my statement
unless i typed that, and deleted it
which is possible


The Iceberg

The Iceberg        
Scott Listfield (b. unknown)
Oil on Canvas, 2007.

CROE: the dissonance is making my brain hurt


CROE: ok, so i can actually imagine mcdonalds taking over the earth to the point where they are selling to polar bears in the arctic
but…the astronaut?

TARBOT: hehe
it’s like, his theme or whatnot

CROE: all of his stuff has astronauts?

TARBOT: dinosaurs too

CROE: i’m kind of imagining the artist puts a bunch of words in a hat, doesn’t know what to do today, and pulls out two: iceberg and fastfood
i don’t think i’ve ever seen one sitting down
but where’s the dinosaur?

TARBOT: hehe
well I don’t think they’re always in the same picture
maybe this is a future rest stop
on the “highway”
the highway in this case being a “waterway”
or maybe it’s another planet!
and it’s a rest stop for ships!

CROE: ooo, speaking of future rest stops
since the arctic is melting, there’s this bunch of people that are betting there will be an a new, more direct passage

TARBOT: to what?

CROE: for shipping
comparison routes

TARBOT: oooh

40 Ounces of Personal Hygiene

40 Ounces of Personal Hygiene        
Kevin Peterson (b. 1980)
Oil on Canvas, 2009.

TARBOT: what …
going on?
so… gas station.
is that gas floating around or did a river overflow?
I can see why the man’s taken to drinking and smoking

CROE: so malt liquor comes in 40-ounce containers
i think he’s bathing in it
but why he has a pig-face, that i can’t tell you

TARBOT: the wrinkles on his face are frightening
wonder why there’s an empty jar
floating around

CROE: so the jar…
it’s closed and floating. it looks cleaner than everything else…
it’s floating away.
maybe it’s repulsed by the dude

TARBOT: what’s with the title? … is it saying this man HAS no personal hygiene
like, he peed in the water/gasoline?
as one does in a pool?

More of this enthralling commentary here …

Contest of Champions II

Contest of Champions II        
Edward Del Rosario (b. 1970)
Oil on linen on board, 2007.

CROE: this is bizarre
the rug? the ref in an argyle sweater? the blue background kinda makes it look like they are all floating in space
they really could wear shoes better suited to this type of activity

TARBOT: “what kind of dinner party IS this?!?” haha

CROE: and does the devil-woman with horns have a double?
or maybe there are three? because the legs over on the right are wearing the same shoes…

TARBOT: well maybe they’re all red shoes but with slight differences
visible only to shoe connoisseurs

More of this enthralling commentary here …

Self Portrait

Self Portrait        
Shaun Tan (b. 1974)
Oil, ~2003.

TARBOT: that’s pretty cool
I like meta-stuff
wondering what all the birds are about
bird lover maybe?

CROE: maybe. it seems like pigeons or sparrows would be more likely on a city street
but i prefer the revision of reality to bright orange cheery-birds
she has three colors of paint
but has only used one
maybe so far she’s only figured out her outline?
but she plans to fill it all in at some point?
as she figures out who she is

TARBOT: ooo that’s neat, I like that
it looks like a little kid playing with crayons or something
very childish (not like immature)
but high in imagination content / potential type thing
the “a” and “b” on the wall are interesting

CROE: yeah

TARBOT: she started to learn how to write, but decided painting/drawing was more fun hehe

CROE: haha!

The Birth

The Birth        
Mark Ryden (b. 1963)
Oil, 1994.

CROE: it’s actually by an artist i’m familiar with
chris likes this guy a lot.

TARBOT: oh nice haha
“the birth”
def. not what I thought when I first saw it
looked more like the … mouse (or whatever) was somehow donating something to the parsnip
like… blood
how incredibly bizarre
wonder what that contraption is – in the nurse’s hands

CROE: i dunno – it looks like a generator or a pump
can’t the doctor put on some gloves?

TARBOT: srsly.
he’s all over that umbilical cord without a care in the world

CROE: i would have thought the parsnip would have looked a little more surprised, given the difference in appearance between her and her child

maybe she’s one half of an inter-species couple

More of this enthralling commentary here …

Fountain 2

Fountain 2        
James Jean (b. 1979)
Oil on Paper, 2008

CROE: and here we have the final piece of our wing-themed week

TARBOT: w.o.w.
well, first off… what happened to his legs?
seems… biblical somehow

CROE: he appears to be doing ok without them

TARBOT: we don’t really see her eyes either

CROE: but we do see the eye from the skull under the fountain

TARBOT: uh huh
overall I think I like it
it’s got some … interesting details
is the artist saying women are … death? evil ?

CROE: what do you think of the creatures holding up the fountain

TARBOT: slaves?

CROE: other possibilities that occur too
it’s the fountain of youth, and it was an old man that was drinking the water, and he’s turned young
the water is so delicious he feels like he’s floating


CROE: the colors of the background remind me a bit of vomit. which maybe is sort of suggested by the fountain water coming out of the angels mouth

More of this enthralling commentary here …


Skot Olsen (b. 1969)
Oil on Board, 2008

CROE: today we begin the ocean theme, per your request

TARBOT: oh holy bajeeeesus.

CROE: that would be a good name for it!

TARBOT: so it looks like the artist has several favorite animals
and he couldn’t choose which to portray
thus combined them all

CROE: i know! the cow belly just cracks me up!
plus i feel like the spout makes it a cutesy bunny rabbit

TARBOT: plus the “arms/hands” that you wouldn’t normally see in a fish

CROE: yeah what are those?

TARBOT: or other sea faring animal
T-rex style

CROE: did they have fingernails?

TARBOT: they didn’t have hands as far as I know
tractor beams from the eyes … very space-agey

CROE: :)
i kinda get a feeling the holy bajeesus whale monster is about to barf on the ship

TARBOT: a-hahahahaha
I can see that

CROE: maybe it finds the ship as revolting as we find the monster

More of this enthralling commentary here …

Pelt Merchant of Cairo

Pelt Merchant of Cairo        
Jean-Léone Gérôme (b. 1824 – d. 1904)
Oil on Canvas, 1869

CROE: meow?

TARBOT: more like, pimp merchant of cairo.
and his turban is askew… you know something’s shady

CROE: seriously
i bet he does a nice dance while he takes that pelt off
and when you take the helmet on and off for your adoring fans
it’s gonna mess up your turban

TARBOT: heehee

CROE: i like the contrast between his toes on the left, and the tiger’s toes on the right

TARBOT: who needs a tiger pelt in Egypt anyways?
isn’t it pretty warm already?

CROE: that was what i thought
maybe it’s for a rug?
but then why is he wearing it?
to get in touch with his inner caveman?

More of this enthralling commentary here …


Vanitas Still-life        
Hendrick Andriessen (b. before 1607 – d. 1655)
Oil, circa 1650

CROE: i figured we could go back in time a bit
and i found one that has more bubbles!

TARBOT: so that’s the skull of Jesus?
is that what I’m seeing?

CROE: there does appear to be a crown of some sort on it
but i don’t see any thorns per se

TARBOT: oooh, the artist is in the reflection of the candlestick.
way to make a cameo

CROE: haha

TARBOT: speaking of the real crown — English?

CROE: I’m not sure – the painter is Flemmmish
or Flemish rather
mmm, those Flemish are delicious

TARBOT: mmmm
so passage of time, crowns and skulls… “everyone dies, even kings”?

CROE: yes, i think the bubbles and flowers speak to the ephemeral nature of life

TARBOT: I was just going to say – yeah, flowers are pretty and = life

CROE: so the crown on the skull – i guess that could be emphasizing that even kings die
and it could also be, like you said, a reference to Jesus
perhaps the contrast in crowns is important – like after you die, what does it matter if a crown is of gold or of straw?

TARBOT: oooooooh
it matters if you’re a grave robber
I don’t think straw goes for much nowadays
though people will buy just about anything on eBay

More of this enthralling commentary here …

Betty, Meg and Little Judy

Betty, Meg and Little Judy        
Donald Roller Wilson (b. 1938)
Oil, 2003 (or 2008)

      Conversation ensues…

TARBOT: ok here is the painting
               I am completely mystified and terribly intrigued
    CROE: uhhhhhhhh
               i need a moment to gather myself
TARBOT: haha
    CROE: that was kind of the artist to give everyone a name
TARBOT: yeah
               (did I mention… priced at $30,000?)
    CROE: impressive.
               so the setting reminds me of a fairytale
               the cat as well – like puss in boots
TARBOT: mmm, ok yeah I can see that
               the bows, definitely Lady Gaga-esque
    CROE: yes. a fashion statement? or an elaborate attempt to hide
               or to dress it up
               like a monkey in a bow…is still a monkey
TARBOT: oooh
    CROE: the animals are all dressed in human clothing, but their facial
               expressions reveal they are still animals
TARBOT: I’m SO very curious about the bubbles
               where did they come from?
               why did the artist choose to include them?
               how are cats and monkeys considered half-siblings?
               ok that last question was not bubble-related, but confounding

More of this enthralling commentary here …