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essentially essential or, why I bought a painting instead of a couch by Yee-Fan Sun |  1 2 3
continued from page 1

But when we saw this painting we knew we deeply, desperately wanted to bring it home. It wasn’t quite need, but it was one of those wants that feels pretty close. There were other works in the gallery that we found perfectly pretty – some by the same artist, another by a different one – and that in itself was astounding, that amidst all the dreck we’d seen that day, this one gallery space had not one, but several pieces we rather liked. But Urban Cowgirls was the one we kept coming back to, circling round and round the gallery only to return to the same spot each time. 

We loved its rich reds and soothing blues and greens, its layer upon layer of texture, its intriguingly abstracted geometric shapes jutting this way and that way in a funkily rhythmic composition that seemed chaotic at first, then felt perfectly, artfully balanced the longer we looked at it. But a quick glance at the price tag promptly squashed any fantasies we’d been entertaining about owning it. We left the gallery that first day feeling sad that some lucky rich bastard, undoubtedly less deserving, would no doubt snatch up that diptych that we loved so much— for some stupid, shallow reason no doubt, like it matched his sofa or something.

After dinner that night, we couldn’t help but take a stroll past the gallery again. And by "couldn’t help," of course, I mean "walked in the complete opposite direction of where our car was parked". It was late, the gallery closed, but through the windows, by the faint glow of the streetlights, we could see the diptych hanging there still. 

The more we thought about it the more the circles looked like traffic lights, or street lamps, roundabouts or cul-de-sacs; maybe parts of factories even; the black-and-white striped paths like pedestrian crosswalks perhaps. Juxtaposed against the silkscreened cowgirls sitting tall in their saddles along the bottom of the piece, it seemed the quintessential modern southwest piece, a sly comment on the way that urban/suburban sprawl is so rapidly consuming the character that once defined the wild west. With faces pressed up close to the gallery window, we stared, we talked, we over-analyzed our new favorite painting. Then we played the what if game, and the funny thing was that the more we talked about it, the more possible it seemed.

mosey along this way please


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