The Amish Way 14x18 oil by Shirley Fachilla
In 2009, Nashville had an exhibit called Paint Made Flesh. I thought it was wonderful with my favorite work being one by Eric Fischl. His paintings often show people in dysfunctional relationships in the suburbs, sort of a John Cheever of visual art. During the exhibit, Eric gave a talk about the future of figurative art, seems that some think figurative painting has had its day.
Eric thinks not, or rather he enjoys painting people so much, he hopes not. He opined that the future of figurative painting lies in compositions of multiple figures. This brings me to The Amish Way above with its five figures. And my rather fragmented thoughts about the subject. Back in the Renaissance and later, multiple figures in paintings were the norm. It seems to me that the solitary figure (other than in portraiture) is more a modern phenomenon. We have gone from Luncheon of the Boating Party to The Scream in short order. Did we stop painting people interacting with others for a reason? I, never being short of opinions myself, have several theories, none with much to back it up and all too long for a blog post.
Suffice it to say, paintings that include more than one figure are more difficult to do. They are harder in terms of composition and simply because they tend to be more complex, people interacting with others… a complexity in art as in life.