Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Happening Still Life and Elstir

The above is a 9x12 oil on paper of the studio table, a view similar to the last pastel drawing.  I say 'similar' because when I start I work from one side and continue to the other side and let be what will be.  It's a happening.

I continue to progress to the end of Proust's The Guermantes Way, and encountered the famous passage, when our hero Marcel loses track of time in the Guermantes home while examining the Elstir paintings: "Among these pictures, some of those that seemed most absurd to people in fashionable society interested me more than the rest because they re-created those optical illusions which prove to us that we should never succeed in identifying objets if we did not bring some process of reasoning to bear on them.  How often, when driving, do we not come upon a bright street beginning a few feet away from us, when what we have actually before our eyes is merely a patch of wall glaringly lit which has given us the mirage of depth. This being the case, it is surely logical,  not from any artifice of symbolism but from a sincere desire to return to the very root of the impression, to represent that one thing by the other for which, in a flash of a first illusion, we mistook it.  Surfaces and volumes are in reality independent of the names of objects which our memory imposes on them after we have recognized them. Elstir sought to wrest from what he had just felt what he already knew; he had often been at pains to break up that medley of impressions which we call vision."  Looking at the world as patches of light and shade and color offers a different entryway to reality than seeing the world as a bunch of objects.

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