Pol Ledent’s Solitary World
Best known for his use of color, self-taught Belgian painter Pol Ledent draws most of his inspiration from his home in the Ardennes. Ledent’s work consists largely of landscapes made done in oil paints. In this piece, the cool, tranquil blue foreground and background are juxtaposed against the lively yellow and orange hues of the trees’ leaves. These leaves create an inverted triangle of warm colors that draws the viewer’s eye into the distance, towards the unknown. This impressionist style enchants the viewer with its intimate portrayal of untouched nature, yet the heavy brushstrokes deliberately reveal the undeniable presence of the artist, calling the validity of the serene scene into question.
Although the overall atmosphere is calm, the space itself contains confusing and disorienting elements. A huge, dynamic cluster of white and blue paint scars the canvas – a heavy splotch of color that creates the impression of a valley or waterfall. Dividing the canvas into two halves, this depression distances the viewer from the trees and the unknown beyond them. The scene is difficult to precisely decipher, and we are confronted with many questions: is that water being depicted? Snow? What season is this? Ledent couples this suspension of reality with his vibrant artistic style in order to bring dynamism to an otherwise stagnant subject.
The painting invites the viewer into a solitary world and asks him or her to confront this untamed nature head on. Although the ground seems barren, the trees still have leaves on them, signaling the presence of life and offering hope that if the viewer were to follow the trees, he or she would find something vibrant and alive at the end. Black rocks punctuate the softness of the white ground, symbolizing the rough patches that the viewer must overcome if she wants to follow this auspicious path. We are left with a sense of tranquil optimism: a silent hope emerging out of the vast emptiness.
What do you think of this painting?