Paul Fenniak, Birthday, 2005⁠⠀

The artist states “In Birthday I tried to get across something of the unbridgeable gulf that exists between people and the desire to close that gap. The painting is divided into two parts by the plume of smoke which stands as a kind of barrier between two (psychological) realms. Each person attending this celebration is, in a way, on his or her own; the man with the sparkler is particularly isolated behind the smoke. (The viewer is separated as well, ‘pushed’ out of the space of the picture by the lampshade). I wanted to suggest that the figure in brown with the purse—although her face doesn’t betray it—has a longing to cross the ‘barrier.’ She’s stuck on one side, but her shadow isn’t. It has ‘made the crossing,’ as it were, and takes its place next to the man’s shadow.”⁠

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