Brian Mouhlas
Chemical Warfare
2015
Oil on canvas
63 x 29.5 in.
[Sold at HEDGE Gallery to Private Collector]

In this painting titled Chemical Warfare, the viewer is confronted with a haunting figure behind a gasmask. This figure is adorned in a hazmat-like outfit and is carrying what one could assume is very dangerous, given the extensive precautions taken when handling. Along with the picture plane being off to the left slightly, the handling of paint to the surroundings relays a sense of unease and carries the potentiality that devastation might be soon to come, or is already occurring. Also, at play is what we can perceive to be a factory worker in the middle left hand side of the painting and the backlight shadow of what the viewer might suppose is a business-like figure given the shadow of a briefcase in the right hand of the figure. From visual stimuli gathered, the viewer can construct that the two figures seen in limiting detail are almost carrying out orders with an almost catatonic diligence. But the figure that is backlit and is anonymous is not only larger than the factory worker; he/she stays out of the light and takes a “backseat” to the events currently at play. This is if to say that he/she is watching over, and has the power and control to have these other figures carry out orders. The color of this painting works to only enhance the coldness and eerie unease when the viewer attempts to understand the roles and the seriousness of this fleeting moment occurring.
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