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Visual Elements Essay

For this visual essay assignment I will be reviewing the Wheel of Fortune painting by Audrey Flack. This work of art is acrylic and oil on canvas. With the combination of different elements, this painting contains a lot of everyday images to embrace the passing of time and death. Flack led the way of photorealism, and Wheel of Fortune shows the trompe l’oeil style. I first noticed the distinguished realism in the painting. I figured out that it was showing the life of a person that ended in an eventual death.

Such examples include, the shininess of the jewels and fruit, the melting of the candle, the drops of sand in the hourglass, the skull, the calendar, and the mirror, no matter how much we may dress ourselves up and keep ourselves healthy, death still awaits and time still goes on. The skull could be considered the focal point of the painting, because of the subtle contrast of color with the blues and reds around it, and how everything seems to lead to it.

The skull is in proportion with the other objects, but it is much larger than each other individual object, which is part of what draws your attention to it. The elements and principles of design help significantly to understand the content of the piece. The image might look random and chaotic until one is able to see that all of the lines on the painting are moving in a circular motion to emulate a wheel. Then you take into account the different objects in the wheel and can see it as the journey of life.

The overall meaning of the painting could be described as symbolic. The art work illustrates a personal story that is very dear to Audrey Flack. According to an article about Ms. Flack in 1980; called “An Artist’s View of Life, Love and Chance. ” she described the girl in the picture as being her daughter. Her daughter, Melissa, was the central theme to the work. She was born mute as well as being autistic. She then explained that life is a controlled gamble that deals all of us a hand of cards which we must play with.


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