The Union of Hope and Sadness
written by Thomas Negovan
is a beautifully haunting exploration of the artwork of modern symbolist painter Gail Potocki
. The book features a great collection of her art spanning over six years from 1999 to 2006 and reveals some of her inspirations and influences while detailing the symbolic meanings represented in her paintings. In addition to showcasing her paintings, the book also features fascinating insight (by Thomas Negovan
and Gail Potocki
in the form of commentary on select paintings, but also by Richard Metzger
, Jime Rose
, and Marina Korsakova-Kreyn
in the form of essays) into her creative process.
Stylistically, her work is unusual since it takes the artistry and technique of classical paintings of the 18th and 19th Centuries and infuses them with more contemporary symbolic attributes. In some cases, the works display Gail's own emotional state at the time of creating the fantastic imagery, while at other times its apparent that Gail is showing the world her perspective on various matters such as the detrimental effect of the human population on the environment and ecosystem or the way in which we are all constantly fretting our own mortality, and yet other works are celebratory manifestos exploring the brilliant eccentrics of the past century.
Gail's art is somewhat difficult to describe since many of the words which spring immediately to mind seem contradictory: beautiful, grotesque, sensual, melancholy, innocent, cynical.
The figures in her paintings have a life of their own, a complexity, which extends beyond the four corners of the canvas; a complexity which reaches out to the viewer pleading for something unobtainable yet almost within reach, and whether they exude desire, loneliness, hope, despair, or creativity, they always intrigue and provoke. Creating a work of art, in any medium, which possesses the ability to evoke such strong emotions and provoke thought long after viewing it is a sign of a master at work and, in this case, is evidence that Gail's work will be around for many, many years to come.