Saturday, 31 January 2015

Self-Portrait with Aureole

The rough jabs of a craftsman’s knife carves out some simple elegancies. A refined person. A saint. The face of a gentlemen climbing out of a peasant’s head.

This is a painting. But really it is a sculpture in coloured wood.

We imagine a beautiful boy rising up to meet the surface of a wind-scuffed lake.

This saint is an artist.  He expresses…we grope for meaning and discover it: the permanence of the idea in a universe of never-ending flux. Here is the immobility of art.

Although…even art grows old.

This beautiful boy dries himself on a nearby rock.  A rock that outlasts the contingencies of time. It could even last forever. But we are forgetting the local populace, who will insist on having their say. Conversations with the wind and the rain and the schoolboy’s penknife will slowly increase this rock’s age. For even a rock can feel the travelling years. Some are killed by their constant traffic.

A rock. It will last so long. But only in mute eternity. To read its thoughts we must wake up this beautiful boy. However… Yes, we know him. He has little to tell.  At most he will say, "the sun is like a warm blanket."

This rock needs a better poet than that.

Only art can supply the words.  It squeezes water out of wood. It makes the silent speak.  It calls this rock an uncouth sofa whose springs need civilisation’s tender care; a rough cut we will later mould into a simple metaphor.

This sculpture. A face red with an inner flame.  The eyes crystal bowls full to overflowing. We again think of the boy. And grasp at images… One comes within our reach: two marbles ready to roll out of their wooden sockets.


Fleeting life fixed for all eternity. 

This figure will not stay still. It is the eyes. God’s heavenly messengers. The aureole the trick to catch us. We are caught. And we look. And are captivated by their soft and momentary brilliance. So much life amongst so much dead matter. Teardrops on an old plank. 

These eyes will last forever.  It is this crazy hat, this aureole, that tells us so.

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