The second of three paintings in the Dystopian theme, Stewart Nicol Soutar is taking a sideswipe at the bleakness of the human experience. Prominently disguised in this particular piece are the two faceless figures to the lower left of the framing.
Overall the theme of the image is dark with the colors all in the same spectrum of grey and black with only tiny flashes and hits of blue and orange breaking up what could otherwise be a bleak painting with a dark message to its visuals.
Accounting for the starkness of the background which is broken up into identifiable boundaries similar to those of streets and lanes in council estates and blocks of flats, a close up shall we say, of the street level with two disenfranchised and bare male figures.
Focusing on the background first, it is reminiscent of the council or Governmental buildings of the UK in the aftermath of the second world war. Stark, cold grey buildings which were designed for the future but became hell, bleak and uniform in construction, they became the cold, harsh dumping ground of the disenfranchised and lost. Ably portrayed by Stewart Nicol Soutar, the flashes of color representing broken streetlights and glimpses inside the houses on the ground floor, slivers of humanity in the grey world of the disenfranchised giving warmth to what could otherwise be a stone cold view of the world of the working poor.
The two men, both faceless, one beaten down, appear to be a part of the landscape only distinguishable by the curve of the skull and the darkness of their clothing setting them out against what is a grim background of concrete pale greys and dark tones but still giving them a sense of blending in like camouflage. The hierarchal sense of their posture is also indicative of the social structures of men in general and particular to the working classes of leader and follower.
With no sense of irony, they are a lost generation, who in the current climate of witch hunting “cis white men,” they could easily be seen as the working class men who in the grand scheme of things have become lost in the mix of political correctness gone wild.
Bleak in its configuration, the painting itself is an indictment of the social structure we now live in Western Culture, shut out, disenfranchised and broken down, Dystopia is as much a political statement as it is a painting.
To learn more about Stewart Nicol Soutar and his work, purchases or commissions see his website: