By Petko Kolarov
This is a painting I saw at the exhibition CITY OF WOMEN FEMALE ARTISTS IN VIENNA FROM 1900 TO 1938. Before that I have neither seen or heard anything of Emilie Mediz-Pelikan and unfortunately there is not too much information that is easily accessible. I am not going to provide an analysis or even an amateur review of any kind. That is also not my goal. I just wanted to share that painting and also talk a little about some self reflection.
There was a lot of great art by underappreciated women at that exhibition, couple of paintings really made me ponder and immerse in distant yet very familiar narratives. However, later that day I realized that I took just one photograph. I did not even remember doing it and it was not the painting itself, but the text under it.
The desolate otherworldly nature wrapped in mist was somehow less mysterious than my own picture.
Later I had a hard time finding a photograph of the painting online as it turns out image search based on the name of a semi-obscure artist who actually has a lot more paintings that have gained more appreciation and popularity is not so straightforward.
I was looking at the dumb photograph I took and started to get disappointed by the lack of results from my search. Why didn’t I take a photo of the painting itself? Yes, there was all the basic underlying information about this piece of art, it is there but also missing – an empty shell. And it is perhaps the way how I sometimes look at things, how many others like me do too (in this case art). In the hurry to go through every painting in that exhibition and have quick glance, I took an empty photograph of something that I really wanted to gaze at, later at the privacy of my own domain – relaxed on the couch at home in front of a screen.
I noticed my phone is casting a shadow…
A shadow that in a way is a metaphor for how the contemporary eye of the beholder is sometimes flawed when it comes to conducting its merely basic function. In this case my phone’s camera is an extension of my vision that betrayed my outlook. Yes, the human mind is not capable of storing perfect memory of something we have seen, however completely relying on finding a perfect quality image online made me somewhat less focused and therefore less aware of the thing before my eyes.
In the end I managed to find the painting, I even discovered a decent summary of its author. I will also try to use my eyes the next time I visit a gallery.
Her early paintings, such as Wooded Bank by the Brook, a view of the countryside near Brannenburg in Bavaria from 1886, were traditional and influenced largely by Zimmermann.
Heron at the Wooded Bergsee was probably painted around this time too. It’s unclear whether this refers to one of the lakes known as Bergsee or, perhaps, more generically to this lake in the mountains.
Painted in pastel in 1899, her Gschloß (‘castle’) shows a strange rocky hill from an almost alien landscape.
For more information about Mrs Mediz-Pelikan and general interest in Macs, Paintings and more visit the blog of Howard Oakley THE ELECTRIC LIGHT COMPANY