Who painted this picture and why?
This work was painted by the American artist Randy Dudley. It's a contemporary landscape painting of a site in Brooklyn called Gowanus.
The Gowanus Canal?
Exactly! It's near our other gallery of landscape paintings, but this work is a little different. Instead of painting a traditionally beautiful location, he painted an area of Brooklyn where there was a bad oil spill. At the moment, there is a huge effort to clean up this site, but at the time when he painted it (1986) it was still really dirty. Contemporary artists often utilize traditional art forms to depict current issues. If you walk all the way down this gallery to the end, you'll see another really cool contemporary piece that addresses landscape painting in a new way. It's by Valerie Hegarty, and it may surprise you!
Any idea what the men are trawling the water for?
Many people love that painting. Its highly realistic style draws people in, but it also has an air of mystery and sadness.
This was painted when people were just recognizing how polluted the Gowanus Canal was and efforts were being made to clean it up. There is also an air of ambiguity that feels ominous.
This has some awesome technique.
Gowanus Canal by Randy Dudley is in the photorealist style.
Many people love that painting, the photorealism draws people in but it also has an air of mystery and sadness. It was painted when the Gowanus canal was heavily polluted and there were efforts to clean it up. So, potentially they are starting a pollution clean-up. But there is also an air of ambiguity that feels ominous. If you look closely, you will see two figures in yellow coats searching for something in the murky water, which adds to the sense of mystery of the painting.
I like it but it lacks emotional depth. It is visually appealing but...I don't know.