Scout Austin talks about a painting that particularly resonated with her during a recent visit to the Worcester Art Museum- The Rubber Raft
Fellow encaustic artist Kellie Weeks and I recently wandered around the Worcester Museum of Art and viewed paintings until we could no longer input any more information. During our supervised meandering - guards followed us into every gallery - my attention was captivated by Philip Evergood's painting The Rubber Raft. Philip Evergood was an American painter (1901-1973), who apparently was as well known for his politics as for his painting style. A great supporter of workers' rights, he was not adverse to getting arrested numerous times. I was not familiar with his work or his life.
|Philip Evergood's painting The Rubber Raft, collection of the Worcester Art Museum.|
The Rubber Raft was ﬁrst shown in the summer of 1945 and was seen as a footnote to World War II - a fact I did not know when I studied the painting, because, as usual, I did not read the entire blurb next to the painting due to my bias against having a painting explained to me before I make up my own mind about it.
I was ﬁrst drawn to this painting because of its bright colors. The surrounding paintings were much lower key. In addition, I tend to be drawn to works that have at least some representational content because, for me, they contain stories. (And yes I had recently watched the movie "The Life of Pi" so I had the whole possibly being eaten at sea thing already going on in my brain.) I confess to paying little attention to the unfortunate men in the raft. Rather I was intrigued by the grinning sharks who seem to have gotten into the lipstick my mother wore when I was a child. To me they appear to be smiling and singing - possibly some shark show tune. I may actually have subconsciously ignored the men in the raft at ﬁrst, because I did not see them until I looked closer at the painting. I am not entirely without sympathy for people who end up in a raft in the middle of the ocean, but the sharks are scene stealers.
The Rubber Raft portrays a human tragedy in bright happy colors. I like that type of contradiction and how it encourages a double take or second look at the image.The colors and dynamic brush strokes drew me in, and once there I was confronted with the darker reality of the situation. It is one technique that gets viewers to look at valuable subject matter they might otherwise choose to ignore.
And now a bit about Scout-
Scout has had many travelled many paths- photographer, graphic designer, practicing attorney- along her journey to becoming a full-time artist.She now resides in Massachusetts and produces encaustic paintings, artist's books, assemblage boxes, prints and other mixed media work.She is a Core Artist member of Fountain Street FIne Art, and shows her work locally and nationally. Find out more about her and her work at scoutaustinfinearts.com