Monday, November 20, 2006

Winston Churchill Described Paintings As Cryptograms On Canvas

One of the things I hate most
about watercolor paintings

is the constant, blaring,
monotonous white. The paper white.

White under the blue wash sky.
White around the yellow and red

flowers. White girding and supporting
the carefully biased grays.

Watercolor painters go to such great lengths
to save their whites

that they’re constantly creating
the same painting: A white blotch

as portrayed from
an infinity of viewpoints. The white blotch.

This hazy rectangular glare—
tinted and shaded to taste—

must represent
some archetypal mystery or womb memory

or the externalization
of sparking, neural throbbing.

Winston Churchill described paintings
as cryptograms on canvas.

What secret message
does the white blotch send? And who from? To whom?

The Spirit of the Age?
Blood of the Race? Goddess of Beauty?

Whistler’s sensitives?
Constable’s scientists? Skinner’s pigeons?

Freud’s bouillabaisse
of plumbing metaphors and mechanisms?

Witches and worshippers?
Owners and property? Lost and found?

All black inkblots conceal, reveal
deeper meanings. This white blotch

conceals and reveals, too.
Deeper meanings. Complex. Seductive.

And I believe that is the solution
to these cryptograms.

The depth is the meaning.
The code is the encoded message.

The secret is the seduction.
Whether infinite blackness

or omnipresent white.
Compositions are created things.

These endless black and white mysteries
distract from both creator

and creation. Then confusion
becomes content and context.

Chaos reigns.
When creator and creation lose, chaos reigns.

I use only
opaque media: acrylic paints, collage.

I use black and white,
but only black mixed from red, yellow, blue.

I do not do chiaroscuro,
I do not do cartoons.

Compositions are created things.
I say what I say, not

what I might pretend to say
if I knew some secret language.

The word is what’s said.
Any truth is better than make believe.

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