("Sometimes less is more . . . But not today", Stephanie Deer, 2010, Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, Utah)
The art world has been known to take itself pretty seriously.
Think about all those snooty portraits of history's movers and shakers, for example.
Most of these people - whether royal blood flows through their veins or not - love to point their noses in the air and pretend they're classier than the rest of us.
They're delusional, of course, but it's kind of fun to snicker and point our fingers at them whenever they pop up on the walls of our local art museums.
When I saw Stephanie Deer's painting, "Sometimes less is more...But not today," I didn't snicker.
I nearly busted a gut laughing.
When I finally calmed down, I read the wall plate describing this artwork.
We'll let the artist speak for herself.
Stephanie - a native of Draper, Utah - says:
"My motivation starts with the Beehive State. Utah in all its quirky glory inspires me. Can you imagine a world without fry sauce? Funeral potatoes? The greatest snow on earth? I shudder at the thought. These are the warm, vibrant, often hilarious things that connect me to our community. Painting allows me to celebrate all the pop culture icons that give Utah its unique personality."
Ms. Deer continues:
"The beehive lady emerged from the matriarchs who inspired me as a child. These proud, native-Utah women loved their families, careers, aprons, roadshows and the occasional warm meal. Incredible ladies, all of them. They continue to profoundly influence my work with their strength, vitality and style. When I was a girl my mother was the hippest gal around. Her name is Loretta and I named the beehive lady after her."
Then she concludes:
"I am a self-taught artist and by combining several media together by trial and error, my style evolved over time. Vibrant color and humor are mainstays in my pieces and I often comment on how SERIOUS I am about FUNNY."
Here's the thing, peeps:
I've had my nose planted in a plateful of yummy fries more than a few times.
And I don't dip these taters in boring old ketchup either.
I use the one and only best fry dipping substance on the planet: Chick-fil-a Sauce.
Chick-fil-a Sauce is a super "delish" form of honey mustard.
I could take a bloomin' bath in this stuff.
Need I say more?
And I'm going to be honest here.
In the excitement of the anticipatory moment - and just like "Miss Loretta"- I've forgotten to remove my sunglasses a time or two before I've dived into the goodies.
This girl is "in the zone," isn't she?
She's staring at those tender sticks of golden deliciousness with everything she's got.
She's soaking up their unresistable aroma seconds before she starts dipping her fries into those - count them - seven cups of Chick-fil-a Sauce.
Excuse me - "fry sauce."
Here's another thing:
I am in love with the happy colors Stephanie has chosen for "Miss Loretta " and her fine dining experience.
Lush, coral reds dominate this painting.
The cheery, cherry wallpaper, the red vinyl bench and "Miss Loretta's" magnificent spiral-shaped "do" all work together to grab our attention and haul it right into the middle of this piece.
We see explosions of color, don't we?
Even "Miss Loretta's" coral-tinged lips - poised as they are over the divine French fries - act as a sort of beacon drawing us into the center of those potato-ey mounds of heaven.
The bright blues of the dress and the underside of the spud plate are the perfect color balance for all of those jump-in-your-face reds.
This painting is a hoot and a half any way you look at it!
Here's just a word or two about the title of Stephanie's painting.
Most of us have been there, haven't we?
We wake up Monday morning with the best of intentions.
Today we are going to get it right.
Today we are going to eat the right stuff.
And we're going to eat the right stuff in the right proportions.
After all, we are the masters of our souls.
We are the captains of our fate.
WE CAN DO THIS!
But then we glance at a Chick-fil-a billboard as we glide down the interstate at 11:30 a.m. hungrier than ten horses.
Minutes later, the car mysteriously turns into the Chick-fil-a "enter" lane.
The next thing we know, we're telling "Miss Loretta" to schooch over on her bench.
We're gonna need some serious spreadin' out room if we are going to do this right!
Next, we find ourselves goin' head to head with "Miss Loretta" as we plow through our own plate of Frenchified fries.
To our horror, we realize we're downing these things like there's gonna to be no tomorrow.
Then it suddenly dawns on us. . . . . .
there will be a tomorrow!
Relief spills over our flushed faces.
We'll start again tomorrow!
Tomorrow we'll resist those crispy French fries with their seductive special sauce.
Tomorrow we will be masters of our souls.
Tomorrow we will be captains of our fate.
It's not gonna happen today.
Today we're goin' for it big time.