Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dust and Shadows - Pulvis et Umbra

                        Pulvis et Umbra, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm

no substance to this solid globe on which we tramp . some rotting, like the earth  .  others, like the moon, stable in desolation . this vital putrescence of the dust . rots uncleanly into something we call life . a mere issue of worms . scurrying abroad with myriad feet . the anchored vermin . this mountain mass of the revolting and the inconceivable  .  all these prey upon each other  . lives tearing other lives in pieces, cramming then inside themselves . the vegetarian is only the eater of the dumb . our rotary island loaded with predatory life . drenched with blood, both animal and vegetable . turns alternate cheeks to the reverberations of a blazing world, ninety million miles away  .  there is no habitable city for the mind of man .

extracted from  R.L. Stevenson, PULVIS ET UMBRA., 1910, the full text available free here

Following through on my theme of the emotions of aging, this painting about Dissolution appeared under my brush. I wanted to express something of the horror of corporal Auflösung. From the moment we are each thrust into this universe, into our conscious existence, we must each struggle for Being, for Dasein, in a universe implacably ruled by the law of entropy. I wanted the image to contain a note of menace in the inexhorably approaching doom. I chose to put the figure on the margins, already undergoing vernichten at the edge of Being. Half the canvas i left as raw black gesso undercoat. It signifies the the ineffable darkness in which Shiva dances.

13 comments:

  1. Wow Harry!! Grand slam!! First I thought that you wrote this and than I thought if you are this good writer I would beg you,pay you to write my artistic biography!Yes,I do dream of my own book,or website or anything about me! This Mr.Stevenson is great writer,in my opinion,love your choice to go with your wonderful painting! I think you would make a great teacher,professor at university
    and if I was there I would be one of your best students! Honest! Horacio is cool too! :O)

    ReplyDelete
  2. thank you, Aleks, for your enthusiasm. Gives me a real lift. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Teasure Island and because that is much loved childrens book many people don't realise what a deep and poetical thinker he was. He got me in the groove for this painting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. wow ! this is good . i liked the work with the space very much !

    ReplyDelete
  4. Harry,

    Your work breathes with the influence of Bacan - it's refreshing and brings a deep satisfaction to me.

    Nice to see the R.L. as well!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Caio, thanks ... and your're right, of course, the big black empty space represents ...... a big black empty space ...... a black hole, the whole of space, the space we come from and the space we are all going to, and the space in between.

    Inkpunk, so glad you like it, a Bacon fan like you ... i don't set out to imitate (Bacon already does Bacon better than i could) but guess i can see through a similar lens at times and look to his canvases for signifying marks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello, Harry, thanks for the this text of Stevenson, whom we relate always with his most famous novel, Treasure island. It's interesting how a text inspires you into creating your amazing pictures.
    Greetings.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I find this painting intriguing. It has a Francis Bacon feel to it, but with your own personal style. I'm wondering at the 50/50 split between subject and background. Is that what you were referring to in your third paragraph?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Manel, hi. Thanks for dropping by. It's not really the text, but the ideas and feeling in the text. Ive had similar thoughts (we probably all have at some time or another) and so i tune in to those as i start to paint.

    nouvelle, so glad you visited again and that this work is to your taste.

    Hi Peggi, glad you stopped by. Yes, that is what Caio and i were discussing. Though looking at it now, i'm thinking of doing a second one, 60 x90 cm, with some modification to the face and the canvas in landscape mode with 2/3 of it plain black gesso with the weave of the linen showing.

    Rather like the 'uncarved block' in the Tao te Ching. The black is the Void. It is does not signify 'nothing'. It is the fecund emptiness from which all Being arises (Becoming) and to into which all Being sinks and returns. So next time, more Void, less Being. Being dwarfed by Void.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's fantastic Harry. I love the light of this painting and the feeling of movement, it's compelling! ... it catches the viewer's attention!.
    Greetings.

    ReplyDelete
  10. gracias, muy buena esta obra.
    hasta pronto

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow! That's my first reaction.
    I saw your comments at Caio and at Brian from Inkpunk, so i got curious. I'm glad i found you, your art is great!

    I love your paintings of Schiele a lot! (i'm a fan of his work)

    Sweet greetz, Momo Luna

    ReplyDelete
  12. gracias joancoch por visitar mi blog, y ser tan amable. Estás bienvenido cualquier momento.

    Moma, thanks so much for your postive reaction. I'm glad we share an ineterest in Schiele's work. I look forward to spending time in your blog enjoying contemporary art from Arnhem. Cheers, h

    ReplyDelete