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Archive for September 23rd, 2011

In my drawing class, I like to create still lifes that don’t follow the classical model of decorum and grandeur.  My still life tends to look more like the left overs of a garage sale.  I do arrange the objects carefully and tug at the drapery to make it dramatic, but the whole thing is a mess only a poet could love.

Gabrielle, a student/artist, chose an enigmatic passage out of the already incoherent set up.  Of all the stuff—vases, shoe, balls of twine, crockery, flowers and garden hose—she chose this book peeking out from under some lush red velvet cloth.  That’s all, just this partially hidden side of a book and replica of a book, at that.  This is a two-and-a-half hour drawing.

Clearly, it’s not an illustration of this book and the velvet.  If it were, we would have to see more of the context.  As it is, you don’t know what this represents.  Now, that became the issue at the end of the class.  Should the drawing represent something and therefore have more information? Or should it be left as it is, enigmatic, suggestive, mysterious…and formally complete?

I do think it’s formally complete.  In one sense, it’s a visual trap, it’s got you going in circles. Slowly, convulsively up at the left;  fast, brittle and clean horizontally in the middle;  sleek and gooey and face-like on the right. These contrasting forms play off against one another to create tension.  But at the same time the whole thing is like a bit of pastry, circular and irresistible.

Yes, it’s finished.

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