Puzzles


I like the process because it affords that chance so rarely available in a gallery or museum or even in every day life.

You end up sitting with a masterwork for a very long time and you’re given that rare opportunity to puzzle over the individual brushstrokes and minuscule bits of paint and broad swatches of color disaggregated from any image at all.  You sit with those brushstrokes (or at least the shadow of their facsimile) for days and days and days.

In doing so the obvious becomes, well, obvious.  As does the genius.

First, of course, we seek the boundary.

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Many of us begin by finding the edge pieces.  They’re easy to locate. But they also transform an infinite sprawling mess into something finite and perhaps apprehensible.

We want to declare order and somehow bound the chaos.

Secondly the sandstorm of color is not really that chaotic at all.

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We detect clear patterns.

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Most magnetic and appealing of all burns that mass of of complexly layered yellow and mustard.

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As well the eye and fingers are drawn to the countervailing mass of blue and darkness.

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These two palettes beyond all else seem to dominate.

But there’s that third muddled mess of pastel reflections of the light and darkness, more muted and intertwined.

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And then perhaps you notice that the darkness is not black. It’s violet and blue and umber and pitchy turquoise if there were such a thing.  And scintillating pulsing points of light, more bright and piercing than the warm ochre and mustard and tangerine, punctuate the darkness.

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The darkness is not dark at all, I tell my wife.

But it was, she countered.  For him it was.

I differ.  I still don’t believe it was the darkness that did him in.  Instead, perhaps, it was his perceived inability to render that darkness, to make it as manifest and material and dimensional as he himself saw it.

In his case the brushstrokes themselves mattered most of all.  Perhaps he no longer believed in those brushstrokes.  Or perhaps the loneliness inherent in their execution were too much to bear.

 

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