Birds stand on one leg for different reasons. A stork landing in snow or on a frozen pond, for example, will lift one leg to preserve body heat. If we see a one-legged stork in the summer, however, it probably means he’s resting. And if we take a closer look at this particular painting, called Stork’s Foot, we will soon see that it portrays a rain pipe and a bucket full of water, and not a stork.
Eglė Gineitytė enjoys these kinds of associations in her paintings. In her early works, completed in the 1990s, such as her dramatic silhouettes of bodies, and after the year 2000, after the corporal tension was replaced by human melancholy, Gineitytė has always reminded us that reality is never unambiguous. A red rain pipe suspended against the sky, for example, might look like a stork’s foot – if we can just see it that way.
A real stork’s foot is about half the length of the one we see in this painting – which, in truth, contains no real stork at all. As she abstracts the shapes in her works, often shunning specific details, Gineitytė puts distance between the painting and the real world to create her own unique spatial rules in the process. “When I paint a painting, I am in that environment. Perhaps this is why the size of my formats are large, because I like that state of being – as if I were walking into [that space],” says Gineitytė, who created the entire background in this painting from spilled ink. This was her first attempt using the ink wash method on canvas and her first work using this technique. She used this approach in later works as well, but, in her mind, Stork’s Foot was perhaps the most successful example.
Having devoted considerable attention in her work to landscapes and the sky, Gineitytė used this work to emphasize a connection between them: the rain pipe links the sky to the rain – the interlocutor between earth and sky. The vertical, horizontal, unrelenting flow of water is an expression of Gineitytė’s enduring interest in natural cycles, constant repetitions, and human attempts to notice them and intervene.
Gineitytė creates a sense of slow action on her canvases. In this painting, for example, the tipping bucket is not sliding downward, even though the water (both inside the bucket and spilling out) is clearly submitting to gravity. We get the impression of slowed, perhaps even frozen time, as if a moment has been captured before an event – a moment of tension before the bucket tips over. Do we know what’s going to happen next? We do. We’re going to move on to the next painting.