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Unfinished art

The Upside of Unfinished Art

San Xavier Unfinished

The subject of a recent radio segment on NPR’s Morning Edition was an ongoing exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s titled “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible”, and features some two hundred pieces of artwork which were never completed: paintings, sculptures, bronzes, reliefs.

The subject struck me perhaps because, I too, have hanging in my office an unfinished and unframed painting.  It is of San Xavier del Bac, the historic Spanish mission just south of Tucson, Arizona. The piece was abandoned, I suppose, when the artist became ill or died or just lost interest and moved on to other projects. It’s neither signed nor dated. I acquired it at a local estate sale, and didn’t pay much for it at all.

The strength of the artist’s colors draw me in: the rich, deep and variant blues of an active, stirring sky; the intense red ochre of the central façade; Burnt umber for the stone wall that surrounds the structure; the two white towers in the pink light and purple shade of a late Southwest evening. The west tower (the domed one) is more finished than the other, upon which the… Continue reading

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