Painting "The Hidden Life of Corals" by Hunter Madsen

"The Hidden Life of Corals"


Another mode for alienating and refreshing the experience of beauty is to give an image a title that, in being somehow discordant with what the image content suggests at first glance, prompts the viewer to look again more carefully and debate title versus content. 

As elsewhere, Rene Magritte got there first, pioneering the introduction of cognitive dissonance between text and visual content in just this fashion in his notorious (and notably hard to forget) painting, "The Treachery of Images."  Here, of course, despite the title's misdirection, we are looking at the palpably pleasing topography of a cactus, not a coral. The cactus displays residual efflorescence in its recesses after most of the image hues have been de-saturated to black-and-white.


TITLE - "The Hidden Life of Corals"
WHERE - San Diego, California (2015)