Brittany Fanning
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Critique

Brittany Fanning's (B.1991) painting shows a woman with a view of a ski resort or a snow mountain enjoying a leisurely time with glass of wine. The protagonist’s winter season clothes and tempting foods that taken with drinks on the table create an exotic and cozy atmosphere. However, in front of the snowy mountain at the background, disaster scene is presented where a landslide occurs or flames are burning in a cabin house in front of the snow mountain.

 

The contrasting scene between the romantic atmosphere of the foreground and the chaotic background makes the viewer read the picture again slowly. The protagonist’s face is covered with sunglasses or hats or is completely off the canvas. In another painting protagonist is turning her back, so making it difficult to identify the front face, and even if there is a face, the shape is crushed. It can be seen that the consistent characteristics of all the protagonist' expressions are intentionally avoiding direct emotion delivery through their faces.

 

In the end, the clue to infer the protagonist’s emotional state is gestures rather than facial expressions. All the women in each painting sit cross-legged in a chair or hold a wine glass with their backs to the viewer regardless of the disaster scene. Glass is the first fragile object in an urgent situation, and the drink in the glass is supposed to flow immediately after shaking. However, the next scene that will unfold in the painting is not going to escape with a wine glass on the table, but to drink wine as if nothing happened. This development is evident in the moment when the woman holds a wine glass, already drinking wine, or staring at the scene where the volcano erupts while lying face down in the snow in .

 

Interestingly, an empty seat next to the protagonist and the protagonist's appearance of holding out a wine glass in front of the screen make it feel like she is spending time with the viewer. On the other hand, the figure drawn from the back draws the viewer's gaze in the same direction as the protagonist’s gaze, helping the viewer to experience the protagonist’s experience on behalf of the person in the painting. In addition, the blue dusk-covered winter scenery removes the tension caused by the disaster and further strengthens the solid state of the protagonist and still life elements in a calm atmosphere.

 

The beauty of the twist that the artist planted in the painting is actually based on our daily lives, which are living in a pandemic era with unexpected COVID-19. Brittany said in an interview, "In my painting, the characters are relaxing or enjoying a glass of wine even when there's a fire or a tornado coming. It seemed so cool to try to stay calm without caring about this extreme situation. It's like we're going through an unprecedented era. We need to stay calm to overcome the pandemic."

 

Dangerous and chaotic moments come like uninvited guests not only in disasters but also in our daily lives. Brittany's work, which is a little offbeat, will calmly rescue us from the chaos with its unique wit in the moment of chaos that comes to us.

 

Writing | Sohee Lim (BHAK Curator)