Book Review: Momentary by Sage Vaughn

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Momentary is a series of paintings by Los Angeles-based artist Sage Vaughn. He's a studio artist and I feel that his works belong more on display rather than inside a book. There's a photo in the book that shows him painting on a big canvas.

There are lots of butterflies drawn in the book. A huge number of them appear in what looks to me like wreaths, with them flying in circles. In other paintings, they fly randomly across the canvas. Many paintings have the wreaths with just changes to the colour theme, or design of the wreaths (but always circular).

For some reason, the butterflies have trails of coloured paint dripping downwards. The butterfly wreaths are sometimes on white, sometimes on black and sometimes juxtaposed with other painted images, such as a rock band, a man looking at a painting, groups of people, a man using his phone.

I don't know the meaning or symbolism behind the dripping paint and there's no explanation. My review is definitely more boring than the beautiful description that's used to sell the book, which I've reproduced below:

The momentary beauty of Sage Vaughn’s butterflies is palpable. These impossibly lovely, delicate creatures appear to have magically landed or violently crashed, oozing their colorful pigment like blood-stained marks across the canvas. The dichotomy of these delicate and ephemeral creatures co-existing over images of gritty urban life creates a contrast that is layered, mysterious, and up for interpretation. Vaughn’s butterflies appear as choreographed nature–their drips echoing his early beginnings as a graffiti artist. Sometimes juxtaposed against the likes of mundane interiors, forests, or the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, Vaughn’s distinctive paintings create provocative relationships between the built and natural environment. The effect is dreamlike and almost hypnotic, as swarms of butterflies concurrently live and die in graceful formations that are at once heart-breakingly beautiful and sublimely melancholy.

You know how you can look at a piece of work and somehow it just doesn't resonate with you. This book does that to me. But hey, that's just me.

The only thing I enjoyed more is the interview with Sage Vaughn that appears at the beginning where he talks about his interesting life stories, and the string of events that lead to him becoming an artist.

Momentary is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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