Crown Holder

by Shane Lewis

21 June '18

Crown Holder effluxion of color

The frozen instant in Crown Holder abstract painting


There is the intimation in this abstract art canvas by the golden color and the rudimentary and suggestive shape a diadem that is the visual basis for a manifold riot of colors, of blues, reds, and yellows. This seeming effluxion of color from the crown can signify the splendor of a social and political position of eminence and calls to us associations of the pageantry of a royal progress or the concomitant riches of real, as well as theatricalized power.


Yet also, the top-heavy form of the figure tells us of a weight or expectation, of the political responsibilities of the wielding of such power. The lean of the superstructural form to our left in the picture space reminds us of both the fragility of the position of power and perhaps of the historical anachronism of the investiture of power that affords primacy to one over all others – just as individual monarchs or rulers are liable to fall, so too, monarchy itself can and does topple, as the contemporary 's artist figure lists precariously.


Connoted here also in the relationship between the form of the crown and its superstructure is the idea of lineage. In this context, the crown or the possessor of power is not a foundation but an offshoot or scion of the luminous structure above it. Such associations are conjured by the artist as pedigree and dynastic entitlement grounded in the legitimation of hereditary offices and rights. In this connection, there is from the multi-colored upper forms a literal and familial descent involved, the vivid coloration perhaps then being the tissue of mythical and historical events – a living history enlivened by its transmission through the ages – that weighs heavily upon the regnant. This seconds the past into the exigencies of the present as both example and the simultaneous demand and obstruction of emulation.

Crown Holder


However, contained within the structural signification of the oil painting is an inversion of this situation: if we alternatively see the superstructure as just that – an emission from the crown, we can view futurity instead of the past. The feats, fiats, prescriptions, and indulgences of a particular government are what results from its office. The blues perhaps become a reference to political quietude, the more turbulent reds to conflict or even bloodshed. The linearity’s of the abstract art piece also intrigue, with the more central jagged lines clashing with more rounded forms on either side. This could indicate both the intransigence of differing viewpoints within government and the necessity of reaching an accommodation of these vested in an overarching authority.


Overall, therefore, the artist incorporates here the present as the inheritor of a linear past and as the prime mover that crafts the future in the frozen instant of the painted canvas. 

About author Shane Lewis was born 1962 in Dublin, UK. He studied at National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Educated in Ireland and the US. Lives in New York. Has also lived in UK. Modern Art. Contemporary Art. Build up collections, Institutions, Preservation, Research. E:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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