Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Retablo: Leave Nothing To Chance

7"x12" Watercolor on paper

The second in my marks and signs series.

This scene struck me on a number of levels — the St. Francis statue seemingly guarding the Obama sign, the little collection of rocks, as though each was somehow signifying something (or as an offering) at his feet. The horseshoe. Perhaps the Obama sign is a prayer, or perhaps it's a shield, too. And, despite all these wards and sigils — marks and collected objects designed to have an intangible influence on the tangible — the door is gated with iron bars.

Overall, the tableau is stultifyingly prosaic and ill-composed. But there was so much faith being put out there on display, that I thought it should be painted with a kind of heroic energy. It moves me, that we humans are driven to redirect, reshape or reform their world with each scribble and arrangement of things, sometimes even without rational consideration or consciousness of our desires.


Anonymous said...

Interesting scene as well as an interesting painting! I like your use of colors, lots of different small spots of color that hang together well. A nice way of capturing the qualities of the setting.

As you say, it's telling what scenes we render in our world and perhaps equally fascinating which scenes capture our attention. Someone else passing by this might not have had the reaction to it you did. Must say something about you as well.

Edgar said...

Absolutely it does say something about me. The rule in communications is that it is a two-way street: a message sent isn't received unless someone is "tuned in" to the frequency. There are very peculiar analogies to this in quantum physics, from what I've heard.

Certainly, I've been on the look out for 'interesting' messages, because I've started this series, so I'm prone to picking up on "signals". This scene was particularly interesting (to me) because of the confluence of religion, luck, politics, and hardware. I doubt the homeowner here viewed the arrangement in quite the way I perceived it.

And by calling attention to those signal sources, I've altered the message that was originally sent through interpretation -- another "rule" in communications (and there's another metaphor for that in physics, too.)

By self-selecting for this scene, I said something about myself. And by reacting to it in the manner I did, I said something else about myself -- both intentionally, and by context. But I'm not in full control of how others understand the message that I think I've sent... I'm at risk of being misunderstood.

Marian Fortunati said...

Always edgy aren't you... You FORCE us to think... I thank you.

I think as people we always view the scene through our own lenses and need to be aware that in conveying our interpretation of what we see, we ARE both changing the scene for others and allowing others to alter their interpretation of us.
Glad you posted again.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Edgar,

This year I must figure out how to
make a blog list, so I can get to your site in a flash from mine (not too techie).

I love this image -- and the attendant beautifully written prose. I like how you are moved to consider meaning, and also to create it.

It's especially poignant as we all hold our collective breath in anticipation of -- something -- praying for magnificence in the face
of the ordinary.

Happy New Year,

Take care,


TSL said...

I love the colors together and the fact you are so clever.

Karen said...

I've been thinking about this little scene all week since you posted it. It reminded me a lot of this makeshift shrine that people have created under the highway overpass near me, where some water had come through a crack and stained the wall and someone saw the Virgin Mary.

I'd always been fascinated that it had been maintained for so long, a couple of years now probably. I actually went over to take a picture to send you, and was really bummed out to see that after all this time, someone had defaced it with spray paint. Interestingly though, the candles were still burning.

I really like the smaller shapes in the flowers, statue, etc. as contrasted with that loose brushy sky.

Anonymous said...

Marian— Always glad to provide stimulation. Thanks for visiting and commenting... which changes how I view my blog, and how I view you, which changes how I view myself, which changes...etc.

Barbara— I can help you with the Blog list resolution. Sign in to your Blogger Dashboard, click "Layout" then the "Page Elements" tab, if it doesn't load automatically. In your page layout template, click "Add a Gadget". "Blog List" will be near the top of the list of "Basic" options. It brings up a dialog to add, rename and remove blogs, at will...
Thanks for the positive feedback!

TSL— Thank you!

Karen— Isn't that fascinating? And how appropriate, that someone wanted to superimpose their own image on the Virgin Mary.

I once saw a cheese danish that held an image of Mother Theresa—which seemed redundant, since danishes are already venerated objects.

susan hong-sammons said...

beautiful light- so fresh, clean and appealing