Saturday, August 2, 2008

Can You Feel It Coming From the West

A Gust of Wind
, Gustave Courbet, 1865

Included in the MFAH's current Impressionist mess, The Forest at Fontainebleau; A Gust of Wind seemed so familiar to me yesterday. Then I remembered Modern Art Notes was just talking about it with Robyn O'Neil on Friday.

It sure is a monster, emotional canvass. But you already know that. That painting was Bob Ross heaven. So many palette knife strokes that fade into eye-tricking realism- Rocks! Stream! House in the distance!

The sky is seriously tilted, either pushing your head into tilting itself or leaving one with a serious sense of dread. Whether applied to the painting- with it's storm approaching quickly- or to one's eyesight- there must be something wrong- or more manifestly as applying to your life- welling, growing fear- there is no doubting Courbet's emotional register. Painted in 1865, as the Napoleonic echo was about to fail, the pugnacious pugilist thrived on change and worked through art to bring about rapture. or the Commune. or whatever as long as it happened.

Forest at the MFAH is a low tide Impressionist show, but a few early Monet's make it worth a trip- and all of y'all better see Courbet. Then watch Bob Ross and imagine he's screaming about power to the people.

This is a ridiculous tribute to Bob Ross- watch with care

ps- check out Tyler Green calling out the MFAH for Gust of Wind's inclusion in Fontainebleau. Apparently the scholarship doesn't add up, but that show needed a punch at the end, so screw the scholars.