|Harry Kent, Brett Whiteley's insistent madness, |
charcoal and Conte on paper, 52x42cm
"One of the hardest things is to discipline oneself to keep looking until one sees to a point of almost insistent madness, to concentrate on one vision until it discloses its third and fourth veil, to keep seeing past what you have just seen requires feeling and ambition, the more open, the more unexpected and extraordinary the intervention ..."
[Brett Whiteley, from Catalogue of 1976 Exhibition, Australian Galleries, Melbourne]
Here i have portrayed BW with his red hair (he had curly red in life) acting as a kind a burning that both reveals and obscures his vision. I wanted a whiff of Promethean fire. I wanted a suggestion of dangerous craziness.
As Coleridge, the English poet, writes in 'Kubla Khan',
"Beware ! Beware !
His flashing eyes, his floating hair !
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise."