Courtroom abstract artist claims wrongful dismissal

courtroom_abstract_artistCourtroom artist Kristie Glands is suing her former employer, the Wertner International News Group for wrongful dismissal, after the media multinational fired her claiming that her abstract court art fell short of their standards.

Glands is furious. “I was hired to portray the court as I see it. And this is how I see it – as a rich kaleidoscope of fast-changing colors, bound by the rigid procedures of the judicial environment.”

The case centers around her painting “Happenstance #3” (pictured above) rendered in pastels, acrylics and white tape. It was painted during the trial of Texas serial killer Malachi Harbiter, who broke free of guards during the proceedings and attacked and killed a court clerk and two jurors before finally being restrained by guards.

“The other court artists were all trying to sketch the attacks,” Glands remembers. “It looked like bad comc book art. But what I immediately noticed was the juxtaposition between the commotion of the courtroom and the gentle play of light entering the room through the leaves of a tree outside the window. I knew it was that inherent contradiction that I must capture.”

Her employers were unhappy with the resulting image and fired her.

While Glands has strong support from the art community, she has been criticized by her colleagues in the courtroom, where she has a history of ruffling feathers.

Judge Verian Largo objects to Ms Glands’ practice of using her own naked body to apply the primary layers of paint to her works.

“It’s distracting,” he said. “Especially when she calls out to the lawyers to move this way or that way. She says it’s so she can get better composition, but I think she just wants folks to look at her.”

Largo also dislikes the artist’s frequent use of her airbrush in the courtroom.

“The compressor for that airbrush is noisy, and the paint stinks,” he said. “It’s okay for her – she’s got an air filter strapped over her mouth and nose, but my bailiff gets sick from the plasticky smell. Plus, at the end of the day, I have a colored spray all over my papers and clothes. She gets no sympathy from me. I’m glad she’s gone.”

Leslie Varney, a spokesman for Wertner International News Group said today that the company was within their rights in firing Glands.

“It’s quite obvious that Glands’ work is not right for our media outlets,” he said. “Her work has a staid, photographic appearance which fails to challenge the viewer in the age of the Internet.”

Varney added: “She has now been replaced by a promising new multimedia artist, who works in textiles and found objects.”

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