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Okubo, Benji [ bio ]

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H: 10 in, W: 8 in

Heart Mountain, Wyo., 1942-1945


Gift of Chisato Okubo


Stretched and framed.

Portrait of man in profile wearing a cowboy hat with Heart Mountain in the background. Dressed in a red collared shirt and eyeglasses, he appears to be in his late 20s or early 30s. His proper left profile is shown and his head is tilted slightly downward. His appearance is rather bohemian, with a goatee and a scraggly mustache. In the background Heart Mountain looms in the bottom left corner, above a meandering river and the sky is dark and cloudy. The artist uses a palette of muted colors (pale coral, soft gold, icy aqua and warm peach) to bring a sense of color harmony to the canvas. The figure is centrally placed in the canvas, and the diagonal thrust to his neck provides a more dynamic composition. To accentuate details within the figure, the artist used fine contour lines, especially about the features (eyes, ears, nose, and lips) and the waves of the hair. The style of painting is realistic with elements of Asian calligraphic brush strokes in the finer details. Frame has light hint of green paint.

The painting is a study of a man lost in introspection. Although the uniquely shaped mountain identifies the location as Heart Mountain, Wyoming, the man's thoughts appear to be far away. By showing Heart Mountain in the background however, the artist appears to be contrasting the man reflecting on his previous life compared to the confines of the present.

Torn typed label on verso: Portrait -- Benji Okubo.

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