Silence Lord of the Mind: A Critique


“Silence Lord of the Mind”, by Paola Rascon, 2010, mixed media on canvas, 1.8m x 2m

Observing this piece, we begin to see the process in which the artist is engaged with the work. For example, in this painting, the gestural engagement and process of the artist is very evident here. The gestures and marks move over the figure in some cases, especially the top layer of spray-painted text, which helps integrate the figure into the abstract gestural.

The other quality of the work she engaged in is the use of words and how these might reinforce the understanding of the painting in the context of the iconographic elements. What the artist is trying to do is tell a narrative about this person. Typically stories are told with words independent of images, however in the figure with the yellow cap the superimposed text adds another method as to how the viewer might ascertain meaning. In this painting, it suggests some psychological state, or silence of the mind.

(The Art Avenue): [Reading and translating the words on the painting] “Thinking” and “sentiments” …“Science equals the destruction of heirs”… “The truth has not been discovered…”

The artist, by doing so, heightens the subject matter. Perhaps it has something to do with the figure that, in my estimation, appears to be homeless he has a grocery cart and an idea of unjust treatment by society, the truth of that needs to be further examined.

I think this painting is the strong. I feel the activity of making the other painting, the gesture, the descriptive marks that go into defining the portrait have a greater amount of virtuosity. Nevertheless, it’s clear the artist, as an overall theme, is interested in these portraits of people that have some relationship to the street and sharing their story.

We are much more aware of the aggressive marks used to model it; while at the same time, the strokes are smaller and intricate over the gestural activity. It is a little bit different; I don’t quite see the artist having the same sense of intimacy or having the same affection for the viewer. The figure in the portrait is staring us right in the face; that sort of sensitivity does not have a place in the kind of view she chose for this portrait.

This paintings demand time is spent in order to search and discover all the clues. Every artist hopes that people will take the time to examine and uncover their work. Her use of text is very powerful. It engages the viewer in another way, which is reading and trying to understand and interpret the meaning of the words. I think she is successful in her use of words in this painting. I should note that the use of spray-paint for the text was very inventive. It makes you think of the street, graffiti, and things like that.

The real significant part is her subject; I think it is very powerful. An artist who has found a theme is extremely fortunate. That is the struggle of art; finding something to say that seems significant. I believe this content is meaningful. The artist addresses some of the social, political, and economical issues that plague our society. She takes her subjects personally, and voices their grievances to the community.

River Noble has exhibited his artwork nationally and internationally. Noble has taught at numerous institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago, The University of Iowa, and the University of New Mexico. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, BA; University of New Mexico, BFA; Saint Louis University, MA; and University of Chicago, MFA.