2011 by Debbie Overs (Art from the Streets 2011 Project)
Found 11/2011, Goodwill (183 and Metric)

Because of the nature of found and thrift art, we cannot be certain if this is authentic elementary school art, art in the style of elementary school art, or the work of an artist outside the greater elementary school art community. However, the sophisticated irony of Zebra and careful layering of the tempera paint both mark Overs as a gifted artist in the ESA school.

Like Magritte’s minimalist commentary on perception and art The Treachery of Images, Overs’s Zebra forces us to question our own expectations in the face of art. We are faced with a space that could conceivably hold a zebra: a fenced enclosure, a monkey, a rare bird that is perhaps an exotic raptor-sized cardinal. And yet we see no zebra in this open-air zoo.

Overs employs an intriguing use of tempera, richly layering the paints in an impasto usually beyond the powers of mere tempera paint. As the field of the painting ascends, the layers become lighter and more airy, so that the viewer’s level of the painting is heavy and confining, and the upper reaches of the painting are open and liberated from the weight of Overs’s brush.

If we cannot see a zebra, we must ask ourselves: are we the zebra?

[Ed. note: It has been brought to our attention that “Zebra” is the name of an artist, not the subject. We are somewhat frustrated by this revelation, but will not let mere fact stand in the way of decent commentary. Thank you.]

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