Placed in a painting by Angelo Accardi
PERSPECTIVE IN ANGELO ACCARDI’S ‘I LOVE YOU, BUT’
In “I LOVE YOU BUT,” a nod to master Pop legends Roy Lichtenstein and Keith haring, Accardi places the viewer in this painting using perspective that rivals some of history’s greatest draftsmen. However, while Da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarotti, and Peter Paul Rubens astounding perspective is used to perfectly define the human body and its relation to other objects, Accardi does something more akin to impressionist technique, where artists made an effort to invite their viewers into their paintings. Think of Monet’s series of water lilies, whose monumental size only emphasizes the fact that the viewer is squarely in the middle of the pond, or Cezanne’s ‘Mont Sainte-Victoire and the Viaduct of the Arc River Valley,’ where the viewer is seemingly somewhere in the air on a hill. What is so unique about Accardi is that he doesn’t just invite you into the work, he invites you into a specific space that places you among the objects, characters, paintings, and background and symbolically includes the viewer’s body in his piece.
So, the question is, where are we? If you look carefully, the viewer is invited into the exact spot where, logically, a fourth ostrich would be running, along with the other three jauntily streaking through what seems to be a museum. The crowd is making its way through rooms of legendary artists, Lichtenstein’s “Oh, Jeff…I Love You, Too…But…” redesigned and hanging in the center of the painting, arguably the ‘point’ of the piece, but to get lost in the title would be a mistake, because Accardi is doing something much more complicated here.
Instead of finishing the painting with a fourth ostrich and landing the viewer comfortably outside the scene, Accardi predicts where a fourth ostrich would stand, and instead places the viewer there. Forcing us to ask, what does the ostrich mean? What does it mean that the viewer, the gallery-goer or museum-goer, the art-buyer, the fortunate passer-by is included in the painting?
Here is arguably the point of Accardi’s work. As members of the audience of art, we are complicit in its very creation by being viewers of paintings. We are complicit in Accardi’s work by coming to look at it. The viewer, in effect, is an integral part of what makes a painting.