Blatchford does two things that wrench the illusion back to the abstract idea of "painting." One is that edges of the picture are blank — he brings the paint to within an inch or so of its border and leaves it there. The unpainted area near the edge reveals both the support and the underpainting.

The other is the tree color, which is the core issue. Blatchford cranks the color saturation of out of all relation to a realistic depiction. The lightest twigs are red, blue, or pink marks; the trunk is deep blue on the shadowed side and orange and, on the upper end, bright yellow on the lit side. These colors are outside all chromatic proportion to the range of the rest of the painting. To emphasize their artificiality, there's another tree a short distance behind this one that is mostly dark with a touch of white highlights. He is being clear about he wants to say, and not at all shy about saying it.

"VARIABLE PRESENCE" | works by Jonathan Blatchford and Shirah Neumann | through December 22 | at Aucocisco Galleries, 89 Exchange St, Portland | 207.775.2222

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  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Aucocisco, paintings, Shirah Neumann
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