The essay "Harvest Moon by Aba Bayefsky" discovers the painting of Aba Bayefsky. Through out his career there is a recurring theme of destruction, skeletons and dark symbols. His choice of rich, bold colors cause the subject matter to jump out of the canvas, but at the same time, the subject is locked into it’s environment and the piece moves as a solid and single unit. This essay will explore the painting, Harvest Moon, by first discussing the initial reactions to the piece upon preliminary examination at the gallery. Later, the essay will investigate the formal elements of art, such as line, shape and how they interplay to create a haunting feeling for the viewer by drawing upon the familiarity of the subject matter and turning it into an expressionist piece of work that evokes emotion and a response.When first encountering this piece of work it’s simple and rather typical physical size doesn’t instantaneously capture the audience’s attention, especially in comparison to the surrounding works that are much bigger in scale. What’s captivating about this piece is how the viewer is drawn toward it for curiosity’s sake of wondering what’s inside the house, what’s behind the jack-o-lanterns and what the artist is possibly hiding. The soft lighting in the gallery creates a warm feeling that counteracts the “scary” images so that a sense of safety is felt amongst the gruesome images in the exhibit. In examining the painting the slick quality of the oil paints are apparent and one would imagine. it would be slippery and smooth to the touch with prickly peaks that terminate each stroke. The carved expressions of the jack-o-lantern's faces appear hollowed out just as if they were real pumpkins but these are a hollowing of paint instead of the true pulp. In general, the nine jack-o-lanterns wear uniform expressions that aren't jolly nor sinister, but more vacant and void if anything. Looking straight on at the painting gives a rather flat view, but by approaching the work from the left or the right it seems as though the jack-o-lanterns' eyes are following movement and beckoning the viewer to stop and reconsider it's mysticism.
Line in this painting is very straightforward. The lines of the two houses ran horizontally across the top of the canvas, but once one reaches the lower half of the canvas these lines are interrupted by waves, or peaks that divide the houses from the jack-o-lanterns. These waves suggest a division between the two objects, the houses, and the jack-o-lanterns. For an oil painting, the outline of the objects is quite crisp and thin, almost as if the painter were using a printed coloring book that already had the outline, and the painter was left to fill in the empty spaces with paint. The diagonal lines that make up the house's awning direct the viewer's eye to the jack-o-lanterns in the foreground, forcing the eye to forget the homes and instead meditate on the orange of the pumpkins. The straight lines of the house are juxtaposed against the wavy lines of the clouds in the sky creating a balance or harmony between the two so that the painting is not too rigid, nor too flimsy.
Shape is rather flat in this piece. In this two-dimensional piece of work shape is primarily offered to the pumpkins, as they appear plump and hearty. The painting is made up of simple geometric shapes that contain the painting to single solid