Thursday, August 29, 2013

"White Flower" by Yoichi Watanabe

I am struck with the realization that something soft, fleshy, and once pulsing with life and opening up to the sky to drink in the sun is now so stark and still and cold. The sensual turned statuesque. Warm, flowing waters that have been frozen solid. I breath in through my nose, hang my tongue out to sense the flavor of the air. Nothing fragrant or offensive. I listen and hear a silence so complete I am compelled to take a deep breath just to be sure I've not gone deaf. I see the vase's pronounced curves break out of the artificial frame, and yet am reminded by the uniform texture that the shape is flat. I conclude, too, that even the texture is an illusion, for the leaves of the flower match the vase, and the houses in the background seem cut out of the too-evenly gradated sky. There is nothing to grab on to, no real coarseness to run my fingers over. I feel I am in a place where vision is the only sense. I am a pair of floating eyes. Floating eyes delighted by an elegant centerpiece.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Iris" (Three Legged Man) by Karhu Clifton

Somehow three seems right. Easier to balance. There are no two-legged stools. Toddlers do not skin their knees falling off tricycles. Three seems more lovely, even venerable. As the School House Rock song goes, "three is a magic number." Three primary colors are the source of all others. In the Christian trinity God is three. And three points make the journey more interesting. It can fly us up and then drop us back down, or roll us down and toss us back up to where we started. Yes, three is just better. We are all missing a limb. This is why we feel ugly, unbalanced, and lacking.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

"On the Deck" by Kanae Yamamoto

She leans into the tilt and gazes off toward green waters in the opposite direction. Her head is sunk low into her shoulders. Her long, dark hair has been collected into a thick rope that droops down in between her shoulder blades. Perhaps she feels empty, as if she has nothing worthwhile left to give. Or maybe she feels lonely; there is so much soft-but-anxious, yellow and orange on either side of her crooked figure. An effervescent screen of blue rises up from the floor and splashes the entire length of her dress. She seems not to notice.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Where Are All the Honey Bees" by Tara L'Herault

Image posted with the permission of the artist. More of Tara L'Herault's work can be found on her website and Etsy store.

Small but numerous fires rage within each panel of the stain-glass window wings. Hot sand seems to blow off the edges. He is like the firebird from Slavic folklore, both a beacon of light and harbinger of doom. This bee so large, I would stroke his soft fur as I would a kitten's, were I not afraid of being burnt.

Sand, and fur, and fire. A heat so hot, we could all burn up. And what of us would then remain?

Friday, August 9, 2013

"Swans" by Hans Neumann

A black mask pops out of the cool and faded blue shadows. Another mask off to the side heads out of the frame. There is slow, steady movement. Gliding with gentle ripples all around. The sun rises into a hazy sky. Most of the horizon is a solid block of grey-blue. The swans seem to float out of that fog of backlit landscape.

Every time I find myself faced with a great body of water, I stare and feel that I am witnessing an event which is deeply profound, but unfolding at such a glacial pace that I will never understand it or be present for more than a sliver of its duration. Perhaps it is because all animal life emerged from the great, watery blue. Perhaps it is because we are mostly water still, and somehow it feels we belong there, despite the fact that we'd shrivel and drown. Perhaps that feeling is simply what comes from simultaneously facing such excruciating beauty and death.

It is all a facade. It will all fade away like fog, like mist. Beauty. Presence. Life. Soak it in as much as you can while you are here and it is in front of your eyes. Soak it in, because soon enough it will be gone.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"The Witches Fire" by Robert James Enraght Moony

Forests are magic for children. A place to escape from the watchful eyes and restrictive norms of adults. Here we can discover some elemental piece of ourselves that normally sleeps. The smoke from the fire rises up in yellowish puffs. They match the yellow pedals of flowers, the puffy tops of trees in the distance, and the long, worm-shaped clouds that stretch across the pale, grey sky. This whole place is a bit yellow, brown, and sickly looking. It's just that time of year I suppose. We behave casually, enjoying this game where we pretend we're in charge of our own destinies. Where we pretend that the houses and church of our town are a distant city and castle over-taken by a giant, filthy ogre, or perhaps a fire-breathing dragon, either of which we plan to defeat through cunning and stealth. But right now we're setting up camp on the forest's edge. Just far enough to feel safe in the cover of trees. Ironically the opposite is the reality. The forest is the true danger, and the town the only safe haven for two, sheltered kids. But it's fun to pretend. Fun to play with fire.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Untitled (white house and flowers) by Leo Dorn

There is a reason we build such houses, paint them white, plant flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. It is so that on the those days when the sky is clear and blue, and the sun shines bright enough to overexpose any dirty details, we get to look on the picturesque ideal that we normally only carry in our heads. Paradise does exist. It exists in moments. In being in the right place at the right time. Though adequate preparation can help.

Friday, August 2, 2013

"Lantern Gion" by Karhu Clifton

A gentle, little gust of wind sweeps into the room. A room left pristine. A room so clear and clean that the breeze is free to be himself. Free to take a breath and loosen his belt, let out his gut a bit. Let's sit on the floor where we aren't and think nothing for a while. Once we've gone, everything is airy, quiet, and almost still.

"Mountain Man I" by Azechi UmetarĂ´

The Harvard Art Museums website has quite a few images of this artist's unique figures, many of which are mountain climbers.

Climbing a mountain is normally a solitary activity. Even in a group of people, the task, the struggle, pulls one into oneself. It is cold here. So cold that I notice the heat that comes from my own face and breath. I am about to continue my ascent, but wait. Who is this? A white bird. White as snow. White as the cloud-covered sky. White as the whites of my eyes, open wide with surprise and delight.