Formal Analysis on Stephen Bush's "Hawkweed"

Topics: Color, Complementary color, Green Pages: 2 (706 words) Published: April 9, 2013
In this response, I intend to discuss Australian artist, Stephen Bush’s Hawkweed, an oil and enamel on linen painting that depicts a centrally aligned wooden cabin amidst a flat, abstract backdrop. This work features a cabin composed of wooden panels that is in the very center of the picture plane, surrounded by a spontaneous mixture of white, green and red, contrasting with the photorealistic gradients of the cabin and offering a stylized, psychedelic sort of aesthetic. Bush created this work to portray that materialism, depicted by the haunting fluorescence right across the picture plane, prevails over these agricultural dreams. The most interesting features of this work under the formal framework are the contrast between the photorealistic cabin and the spontaneous, painterly gushes strewn across the picture plane, as well as the vibrancy of the colours and their incongruence with our notion of traditional landscapes.

Hawkweed is an untraditional landscape of a wooden cabin against a background of sporadic streams and gushes of colour. It is a semi-abstract depiction of consumerism prevailing over widespread agricultural dreams. The things that can be seen in the picture plane include an “explosive use of colour” in spontaneous “swirls”, “whorls” and streams, “embrac[ing] experimentation and accidents” in the painting process. Additionally, the cabin, in three-quarter view and with realistic tonal qualities, “disrupt[s]” the hallucinogenic quality of the backdrop.

The oil paints of the background have been sporadically applied and strewn across the picture plane. Having said that, the backdrop is still representational; it does not adopt a holistic approach as in an abstract painting. There is a degree of unevenness in the distribution of colours across the backdrop. The green and white oil paints, from the top of the plane, have been applied in a vertically linear manner and coat the majority of the backdrop. The mixture of fine and thick streams of...
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