Why Is The Painting Divided In Three?

Image credit: Cicada, 1998-2000, Rob Evans (b.1959), Acrylic and oil on canvas, H. 40 x W. 120, In trust to the James A. Michener Art Museum from Ms. Joyce Tseng.

Notice that Rob Evans divided the painting into three sections, creating a kind of triptych. This painting began in 1994 as a small sketch of a cicada shedding its skin on a tree branch. The sketch was inspired by his memories of the cicada’s song vibrating each summer through the treetops at his grandparent’s home named Roundtop. He would find their translucent skins on the bark of the trees. Have you ever seen or heard a cicada before? What do they sound like?

This painting evolved into three areas over time. The middle section of the painting was created first. Rob Evans later added the right and the left panels. The left panel is a view from the porch of his grandmother’s house at night. This shows a memory Rob Evans has of watching fireworks across the river when he was a young boy. The right panel shows the inside of the house with a view looking out the door to the same porch along with a glimpse of the river at dusk. You can see an empty wheelchair in the doorway. This wheelchair belonged to his grandmother.

Visit a previous post about Cicada to learn more about it and to find downloadable activities and curriculum.

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