Brian Mouhlas
Plotting Teams standby once more
2015
Oil on panel
22 x 28 in.
In the painting entitled Plotting Teams standby once more we are confronted with a social interaction between two individuals. The right figure seems to be leaning into the left figure, which is drinking from a yellow cup and appears to have his eyes closed. We can assume by the way in which the figure is dressed, with a tie and collared shirt, that this is a professional kind of interaction. However, there is a division occurring within this framework, both a literal and a figurative division. The painting is quite literally divided by a line that runs diagonally down the middle of the painting through the individual drinking and continues onto the dark ultramarine dividing line between the individual’s shirt and the background. The figurative division is apparent in the seeming interaction between figures, or attempts as some sort of interaction. Here the viewer is persuaded by the seeming aloofness of the individual drinking and is somewhat comforted by this interaction and the lack of seriousness at the root of the interaction. This comfort is halted if/when the viewer takes a second glance at the title, which reads, “Plotting Teams standby once more.” With its military jargon that references a chain of command, one is sent reeling back to present and past associations of war and conflict between humanity and to a world that is continuously involved in war and combat.
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