Triptych
2006
Peter Simpson
Colored ink on wood fiber

The structure of a triptych naturally evokes Christian religious art, both philosophically and formally: philosophically, because a work that is of three parts and yet a whole recalls Trinitarian conceptions of the godhead; formally, because medieval altarpieces play a central role in the development of the triptych. As the title indicates, I consider the triptych the content as well as the form of this piece. That is, Triptych is a triptych and is also about triptych. For example, because medieval altarpieces often placed the crucifiction in the center panel, this piece uses limits the use of red hues to that visual position.

The spare leftmost panel introduces the visual leitmotif that unifies the piece: a dynamic blue form that suggests motion and tension. A variation of that form in the same hue appears at the left of the central panel, and the rightmost panel expands the idea a larger blue form at the bottom. Here the original theme has added bulk but also chaos. The blue thematic elements also decline in the vertical plane as the viewer follows them from left to right. This suggests a metaphorical decline complemented by the indication of Eastern ideas in the kanji-like element in green at the top of the rightmost panel.

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