Carl Dobsky, Ship of Fools, 2015

If we’re showcasing narrative painting, then we have to talk about Carl Dobsky. This painting is called Ship of Fools and it’s clear that Dobsky has painted just that; the fools are preoccupied with catching pretty butterflies rather than steering away from their impending doom. The title of the painting references Plato’s allegory of the same name, about the dysfunctional crew of a ship trying to mutiny, but for some, this painting is a clever commentary on how we are distracted by sensational news stories and celebrity gossip rather than dealing with more pertinent issues like climate change, to our own detriment. We like a bit of subtle moralizing in art, but it’s a careful balance, for your work can easily slide into preachiness, cliché, or political cartooning. Dobsky successfully walks the line here.

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