This painting, Ghost Wolf by artist Michael Grace fascinates me. It's the kind of a painting I feel lucky to have nabbed at the thrift store. The cookie-cutter horse silhouette and the crude drawing of the rider's face and the wolf's body provide the dull rationalization for some very the weird, anxious painting. The coordination of the horse's frantic markings with the lightning-bolt banks of the frozen stream are the kind of oddball stylistic inventions I adore. The use of a monochrome background shows rare restraint for an amateur. It's basically done with three tubes of paint: blue, brown and white, which is unusual anywhere.
Anxiety screams from evey jagged point. Is the horse jumping like a wolf, or is it jumping as if it were being pursued by a wolf? Or is the rider, dressed in a wolf-skin, imagining himself a leaping wolf?
From an art-historical standpoint, it's interesting that this is the first time I've seen an amateur knockoff of the popular "hidden animal" sub-genre of Western/Wildlife art, as practiced by artists like Bev Doolittle.
Michael Grace uses the camouflage gimmick so poorly that his struggles give rise to an animated tension untterly lacking in Doolitttle's more polished work.
also by Bill Davenport
- Lego My Art! - January 30th, 2016
- Archive: Painting on My Planet/The Top Ten Painters in Houston - January 1st, 2016
- Archive: Tire Iron 0: Cropduster: Hills Snyder/Chris Sauter - December 28th, 2015
- DMA Crane Flip Video - April 26th, 2015
- Helmreich New Dean of Fine Arts at TCU - April 25th, 2015