Sunday, October 26, 2014

... I bought a painting* a few weeks ago & collected it on Friday. It hangs now to the right of our bed. On the other side is the collage I made a long time ago with the lines excerpted from the poem of O'Hara's ("well, I have my beautiful de Kooning/ to aspire to. I think it has an orange/ bed in it, more than the ear can hold.") The line breaks are true to the collage not the poem for any pedants out there.

I cannot afford a de Kooning & a Chardin is also beyond my means. However, walking into the gallery at the beginning of October this small square painting jumped out & I knew I had to have it. Why? For all the obvious & unobvious reasons why one is seduced by a work of art. Technically speaking this is not a painting of an orange but a St Nicolas mandarine (which is something to do with it). Turning 50 earlier in the year is another. As is the sense of autumn's approach & that glowing orange which will keep anyone warm through the dark months of winter.

A funny coincidence then, yesterday, to find slipped in the far left end of a low shelf at the Nijinksky secondhand bookshop this volume by Derek Jarman ...

... a series of short meditations on colour. It is exactly the kind of book I relish - part compendium, part journal, part essay. There's some deeply beautiful writing here & Jarman's evident sensibility as an artist is matched by considerable erudition. The circumstances in which it was written & compiled add to the sense of ephemeral pleasures (Jarman's health - including his eyesight - declining with each page "I wrote this book in an absence of time").

Maggie Nelson's Bluets is an obvious sister volume - did she, I wonder, know of Chroma? But this is not meant to diminish her work - only extend the enjoyment of such explorations - in the Bachelardian sense, Poetics of Colour.

& so I suppose another reason why we buy paintings - a knowingly fond belief that it might be possible to trap & enjoy colour while Time & chemistry & optics snigger at our presumption.



* by the local Belgian painter Mathieu Weemaels

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