McPhee Gotell art critique

Grade 12 visual arts student McPhee Gotell wrote a critique of the 1995 painting Stilted and Two Verticals by Peter Von Tiesenhausen. Submitted photo

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Kathryn Rajamanie, Grade 12 Visual Arts teacher at Montague Regional High School, has asked her students to be art critics working for a newspaper and do a persuasive writing piece. The students will look at artwork by two artists and their critique will appear in The Eastern Graphic periodically. 

This entry is by McPhee Gotell

Stilted and Two Verticals, 1995, created by Peter Von Tiesenhausen, spoke to me. I felt there was a mysteriousness to it at a first glance, but when I got closer to the piece I got a sense of pain within the painting.

Created with oil paints on charred wood, there was something about it that didn’t quite sit right with me, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I stood there, staring at the details within the wood, trying to figure out what Von Tiesenhausen would have wanted to say as he was painting. What I pulled from it, before reading the description, was “he made this out of charred wood for a reason, maybe for a stand for the environment”. 

After I read the description of the piece, I realized that’s exactly why he had done this piece the way he had. He wanted to use his platform, as an artist, to bring awareness to the issues of what we as people do to the planet. I personally think he did an amazing job portraying this matter in a way that is very powerful and that gets the viewer’s attention.

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