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Polynesian portrait

80 by 122 cm - oils and acrylics on wood

Polynesian portrait was made after a picture of a Polynesian woman. This painting was the artist's first attempt to create larger sized paintings in a predominantly abstract art style. Typical of "beginning" abstract artists are the sharp angles with the geometry of the painting consisting largely of triangles, the triangles being the simplest of shapes. Since, the artist's style has progressed, using rounder forms and lines, which results in a more complicated geometry, but when Polynesian portrait was made, the challenge was to create a complicated composition (based on triangles) while achieving a maximal compositional balance. As for the latter, color has always been the artist's main ally. In Polynesian portrait it can be seen how color serves, not primarily as an aestetic tool, but as a means to "label" a composition's components (triangles in this case), bringing order where would otherwise be chaos. Think of color as a mnemonic in the creative process, although in the end result color is an integral part of the compositional logic.
Polynesian portrait also reminded the artist of one of Picasso's splendid one-liners: "A finished painting is a dead painting". In the artist's zeal to achieve a high degree of compositional balance, the painting did lose some expression, without promoting Picasso's statement to absolute truth, however. Knowing when to stop is one of the key-issues in creating abstract art (see also how to paint abstract art), but it is also likely to be true that Picasso's school put too much emphasis on expression (abstract art's buzzword during the 20th century) and not enough on compositional strength.
It may be clear that Picasso, the arch-angel of experimental art, still haunts today's art scene, but a crucial difference between Polynesian portrait and Picasso's style is the absence of Fauvist influences in the former. The painting's color-scheme is, if anything, expressionist, not fauvist. That Polynesian portrait may be reminiscent of Picasso's style is rather a matter of "gut-feeling" than of methodology. In fact, the technical differences are so great, that once again it shows that different pathways can lead to the "same destination", without wanting to make any other comparison than first impressions (and certainly not in terms of quality, influence, relevance etc).

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