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14Subway
What about that deep red disc in the upper right? Would the painting be better without? Should it go? Should it be in another part of the painting? Does it need a companion, another disc somewhere, at least one? These are the questions that came up as the rest of the class looked at Maria Palacios’ painting. One person said, “It’s disturbing.” And so it is. Your eye keeps moving up there to the right, wondering, what’s that doing there. You can’t quite answer the question, but you know, that without the disks (see it photoshopped out, below), the painting might slide into the decorative category.

14SubwayNoDiskWithout the disc the painting still holds my attention, with its rhythms and progressions. What’s foreground, what’s background? What’s moving, what feels stable?  Fascinating. The painting came about after the artist had made a personal study of Hans Hofmann, the German-American abstract expressionist, 1880-1966. 

Yes, the disc is disturbing, and that’s good. Makes you think. I don’t think it needs a companion because another disk would merely add balance. It could be in another corner, but anywhere else, it would lack weight, would be tame.  Keep it there, in the upper right, where it puzzles and provokes you.
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