Saturday, 31 January 2009

Issues

So, well, there are all sorts of issues right now - computer issues, camera issues, work issues - which are not conducive to blogging. In particular, I've taken on a substantial translation project which is going to keep me very busy, outside the very busy day job, for the next three months or so. A good thing, I think. Stretching my mind in an area where it's competent is a positive feeling I don't often get. So this space is probably going to be silent for quite a while, but something else will no doubt issue forth in due course.

On Thursday I saw the Byzantium exhibition, and today the Rothko. The ultimate in bright, shiny, intricate, infinitely various complexity and the ultimate in subtle simplicity. And the opposites, of course, meet and meld. No simplicity more complex than Rothko's.

That the Rothko has been on since September and ends tomorrow well indicates the level of energy I've been mustering in recent months beyond what's required to do the essential, hold together something that looks like a functioning person. I wish I'd gone earlier, because I took such comfort in his canvases, especially the Black-Form paintings.

Reducing Rothko to a single narrative or metaphor would be a sorry and impoverished view. I didn't, don't. Every moment they are something else. But still, hard not to see the black paintings, especially, as depicting sadness or depression; such a beautiful and heartening depiction, since they are as full of movement, complexity and life as his reds and oranges, a powerful reassurance that the dark too is life, not static, not nothing. This is meditation on pain: the more you look right into it, the more it moves and ebbs and flows and suddenly, momentarily, lets in light.

canal-side statues at King's Place

15 comments:

Zhoen said...

I like images of Rothko's work. I am awed standing in front of it. Very different reactions, the wordless impact is... well, immense.

Thanks for the contact, take care of yourself. I'll be watching for you whenever you leave another note.

marja-leena said...

I love reading your personal and thoughtful observations and reactions to the various exciting art exhibitions that you take the time to see. Great photos! Wish you well in your translation project, work I know you love, though I hope you are not burning the candle at both ends.

Tracker said...

Well I am sure you are underselling yourself with regards to competencies, for start: you can write.

A few weeks ago, I was in a bookshop with a "3 for 2" offer stuck for choice for the unexpected "free" item. I somehow remembered your recommendation regarding JM Cotzee's "Diary of a Bad Year" and purchased it, trusting your taste. I finished reading the book a few days ago. I really enjoyed it, especially the playing with perspectives and the way it mingles philosphical discourse with life excerpts. A great "little" book. So thanks for that blog entry of yours! Perhaps you could start an online book club once you have finished that translation ;-).

Dale said...

xoxoxo

the psycho therapist said...

You are a wonderful writer, I fall into your words. Actually, it is more of a felt sense I am briskly walking to keep up with your pace, winding up being one or two steps behind, the slightest delay. I am aware of space.

It is good to see you back. Intermittent is "good enough".

Godspeed on your endeavors. Godspeed on all of our endeavors.

The light inside the dark--yes, indeed.

Art is a balm. I love that you love that.

And, if Tracker also enjoyed your book recommendation, I will take that as a "sign" to go forth and purchase. (laughing)

Best to you.

PeterAtLarge said...

Your post brings to mind my visit to the Rothko chapel in Houston, quite some time ago. Certainly, if nothing else, these paintings are profound mediations on suffering and death. They do need time... A quick glance, at the usual museum walk-through pace, yields nothing. Good luck with the translation project. I'd be interested to know more about it.

Philippa said...

I enjoyed the Rothko too.

I, as I imagine all your loyal readers, will be grateful for whatever you're able to post up here while you're busy. Take care xx

Beth said...

Jean, so happy to hear you're doing some translation! It's always good to read your words and see your images here, whenever you can. I loved what you wrote about Rothko - still have never seen a big exhibition of his work. And I love the final image here, those two statues. Take care of yourself.

Linda S. Socha said...

Great to be able to stop here and breathe in art and you wonderful writing....Hope you are only taking mini vacations or ...at least not permanene ones
Linda

Lucy said...

Your writing, your ways of seeing things, open such possibilities, always make me feel I can go that bit further in...

Take care Jean. Whatever you post, whenever, will always be welcome.

Rachel Fox said...

Your writing just glows with thoughtfulness. It's very soothing. Somehow you translated the paintings for me. Clever, that.
x

the psycho therapist said...

I hope you are being kind to yourself throughout the "busy".

*

Dick said...

I hope to be checking out the canal side sculptures at King's Place very soon, Jean.

Patry Francis said...

Sometimes you just have to live life, and let others talk about it. In the meantime, Rothko speaks eloquently.

sonia a. mascaro said...

I hope you have a good translation project!