An article posted in NY Press says, "The boy is startled, empowered, and utterly absorbed by the light from the interlacing flock of bulbs and crystals, as if he is experiencing the same exhilarating, inexplicable excitement of someone encountering an angel’s halo, a golden religious icon, or the glory of Aurora Borealis."
OK. That's a possible interpretation. On the other hand, I've experienced being mesmerized by any number of lighting situations, natural and artificial, without confusing my experience with divine intervention. I may even have gone further on occasion and crossed over into the numinous and sublime. So, I can relate, I guess.
This piece could be a thoughtful social commentary, a meditation on transcendence, a revelation of naïveté -- or perhaps "It is a spontaneous, subliminal and physical experience of absolute truth that cannot be controlled or explained," as the article goes on to say.
The title of a work of art is important, of course. I often give my own work titles that direct the viewer's attention in unexpected ways, as Croak seems to be doing. One of the most famous instances of this is Magritte's "The Treachery of Images." The French phrase in the painting, of course, reads "This is not a pipe." The title, along with the phrase, transforms the painting from representational into conceptual - and in fact, in this case, the concept is the very idea of representation.
But one must be cautious about this. The danger is that the clever title turns what could be a subtle, ambiguous and thoughtful piece into a one-liner or visual pun.
I haven't decided whether I think Croak's piece steps beyond it's title or not. What do you think?
The NYPress article says Croak's work is installed at the Stux Gallery in New York. I found additional examples of his work, many of which I like better than this one, at the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery.
The image of "Chandelier Mistaken for God" is from the Stux Gallery website.