Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sky 8

6.5x9.5 inches, watercolor on paper

$65. US shipping $7.50; email for international shipping

Massive, weightless, buoyant, levitating… N.C.'s clouds seem to be great remembrances of cloud life. They're not just tributes to the off-hand random generosity of an impressive celestial spectacle, but evocations of days spent cloud gazing. They give us not just the memory of a time so free that the colossal significance of clouds can preclude all other plans, but also a glimpse into an adult life consecrated to such realities. They show us what's down that path not taken. And they do so by misrepresenting what they depict; they're not records of fact, documents about what really happened. They're proof of Picasso's paradox: “Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.”

Another intriguing kind of lie in old NC's box of tall tales involves dots: Pointillism. NC's mentor in this was Giovanni Segantini, a gentle symbolist more intrigued by the power of monochromatic speckles to create light than in the optical mixtures supposedly available via vividly multicolored dots, as in the almost hallucinogenic images of Seurat. Segantini, and even Van Gogh, are linked to NC through their recognition that a speckled sky can look far more radiant in a picture than any flat, pure color could ever do. It's a very useful illusion… (apparently better termed Divisionism)

No comments: