30 November 2018
Walk on the Rock
When I walked into the Beach Museum of Art on a sunny, Saturday morning, I was the only one there. It was eerily quiet and the sound of my footsteps echoed through the cavernous temple. The very first painting that I saw was titled Walk on the Rock by Doug Martin; painted in 1997. The subdued but eternal landscape was mystifying to look at. The painting illustrates a calm river running through what seems to be a sort of valley in mountainous-desert region of New Mexico or southern Colorado.
The image is of a tranquil river that seeps through the valley it created. Around it, half naked trees are suspended motionlessly in the seemingly brisk fall breeze. The area seems to be untouched by humans. It reminds me of a backdrop in an old western flick. But, the key to what makes this piece so very despondent, is the bare limb that hangs in the foreground of the image. As the focal point of the piece, the line it creates is used to demand the attention of the viewer when they adjust their focus. It is, in a way, personified with a sad look that signifies the coming of a long and foreboding winter. The monochromatic and somber composition was magnetic. There is sadness in this painting. It is melancholy swirled onto a canvas.