"Seeing Red is a still life narrative based on the cycles of life. When I start to formulate the ideas of a painting, I see the frame as a game of chess. One move can bring a work together, or cause it to fail. In Seeing Red, I wanted the image to have a certain amount of intensity and focus on the skull itself, so centrally placing it gave it that prominence and stability. Central placement in a frame can lead to a loss of power compositionally, as it can become too symmetrical and boring. To balance this, the shadows become a strong movement pulling outwards in the frame on a diagonal and the spring robin then stands in opposition to this movement in the upper corner. The red ribbon leads from an unknown origin outside of the frame making the space expand beyond its constraints in the viewers mind, while the horizontal board bisecting the ribbon is meant to slow the speed of the ribbon's visual pull. The painting's color palette is also set as primarily monochromatic to really allow the intensity of the red ribbon pop against the neutrals. All of the elements are also placed on harmonic divisions to give a further sense of unity to the compositional design.
The red ribbon signifies the life that once existed in the bull who's skull we now see hanging on a wall, with the focal point being the area of highest contrast and saturation in the eye socket where the light fully catches the ribbons curl. This also stands for the fight the animal once had in its eyes. The robin is the bearer of spring and renewal, further heightening the cycles of life. It sits quietly staring back at the viewer as if asking its own questions of us." - Isaiah Ratterman