Please give an analysis on Controlled Burn by Tim Davis.

Quick answer:

An analysis of Tim Davis’s painting Controlled Burn may focus on “control” in the title as applied to the work’s content and form. The idea of control may be concerned with the fire and setting that the artist depicts as well as his intentions and execution.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The title Controlled Burn that Tim Davis has given his painting suggests two related lines of analysis. One concerns the subject of the painting: a small fire in a forested setting. The other involves the author’s intentions in focusing on this subject and his manner of executing the painting.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, a “controlled burn” is another term for “prescribed burn” or “prescribed fire.” An important method “to restore health to ecosystems,” it is used in both forest and rangeland management. Along with benefitting natural resources in numerous ways, such burns reduce the likelihood of unplanned wildfires.

The controlled burn may also be used in a non-literal sense. It can be a metaphor for clearing impediments in order to enable new developments or creativity.

In the painting, Davis shows a small fire burning on its own. This fire occupies the lower left corner, and its smoke drifts diagonally upward, partly obscuring the trees. No human beings or tools are shown. Their absence encourages the viewer to question if the fire is being controlled, and if why, by whom. The viewer is thus forced to acknowledge the artist’s hand in creating the scene. The painting’s realistic style is thus contradicted by the artificiality of a situation in which the artist is in control.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial