The essay "Wheel of Fortune and Invocation by Flack" analyzes the Flack's paintings, heel of Fortune and Invocation. Both pieces feature an unrealistic collage of still life items, including a realistic human skull. The items included in these still lifes are not unrealistic in their depiction, but rather in their placement. Wheel of Fortune, for instance, makes any underlying structure impossible to discern while Invocation presents an abstract, dimensionless background. The illusionistic depiction of items such as the human skull, hourglass and nearly burned down candle classify Wheel of Fortune as a vanitas painting while similar images, minus the hourglass, are used in Invocation. Flack employs a full range of hues to produce a trompe l’oeil effect in many of these images. The paintings do differ in the way in which they are compositionally composed. Both use the human skull as focal point. In Invocation, the skull is placed in the geographical center of the painting with all other objects arranged around it. It is given a trompe l’oeil frame over which a paint tube, sitting next to the neck of the skull, drips a steady stream of red paint, and a candle, lit near the left edge of the image, burns. The composition is asymmetric with balance achieved by inversing round forms such as the base of the candle holder and the blooms of the bouquet. Wheel of Fortune, while also asymmetric, achieves its balance through the duplication of the skull. The original skull is placed off to the right side.
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The essay explores two paintings of Flack, Wheel of Fortune and Invocation. Both Wheel of Fortune, a 96 inch square oil on acrylic, and Invocation, 64 x 80 inches also oil on acrylic, are classified as vanitas paintings which explore the brevity of life. …
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