Friday, May 29, 2009

ESSAY: Francis Colburn's "Memorial Piece"

(from the exhibit “Masters of Vermont: The Men” Bryan Memorial Gallery, Jeffersonville. Through July 12.)

by Lindsay Vezina

   "Memorial Piece" is Francis Colburn's evocative swirling, quasi-cubist painting - its foreground has a downcast semi-see through bride with a down turned bouquet. Behind her sits a melancholic young girl, to the right is a life-sized Magrittesque painting of a man leaning on a bicycle peering toward the bride. Is he a painted stand-in for a dead husband in transit? They all occupy a meadow whose ground and trees seem to be alive with psychic turmoil. Bare branches reach beyond a canopy of graduated green growth, the sky is framed by forbidding dark blue. 

  Colburn has an amalgam of influences such as Picasso, Rockwell Kent, Thomas Hart Benton, Magritte, Da Chirico as well as early Stuart Davis. Colburn has succeeded with great technique and psychological force to create a painting that works viscerally as well as compositionally! This is just one of other interesting work at this fine show at The Bryan Gallery in Jeffersonville.