Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I don't know what exactly Sean Chao intended in this painting, but I think he wanted to depict a child's daydream. Here he expresses a very distinctive and playful point-of-view, and I'm not just saying that because of the subject matter of a giant polar bear destroying a city. The sky is a wild collection of active, golden-hued brushstrokes, while the buildings evoke flavors of ice cream more than they do typical colors of a cityscape. One smokestack emits grey squiggles while a building in flames emits simple, overlapped transparent strokes of grey.
My favorite aspect of this piece is the people. Dwarfed, flattened and abstracted, they're here only to serve as props in the scene and victims/witnesses to the chaos and destruction. Some of them are falling off the buildings, and most of them are screaming. Chao's use of blank word bubbles really adds so much, as it indicates a whole lot screaming, and it lets gives panic and chaos a very concrete presence. And of course, this use of comic book vocabulary reinforces the piece's connection with childish whimsy.