Hand me that pot

Josefina Guilisasti, La Vigilia-detail, 2001 Blanton Museum, Austin, Texas

Josefina Guilisasti, La Vigilia-detail, 2001 Blanton Museum, Austin, Texas

Recently, one of my helpful in-laws (who shall remain anonymous) charred my favorite stock pot, while cooking in my kitchen. . . reminded me of Josefina’s piece (my fav) at the Blanton Museum in Austin, Texas. I’ve been scrubbing my sad pot for days, and it occurred to me that I could simply choose another from these shelves and chuck the whole mess. So choose mug, take a seat, and I’ll pour you a cup of La Vigilia.

La Vigilia (Vigil), a collection of seventy-two oils, each tucked into a cubby of twelve Ikea style bookcases. The twelve different pots and utensils are life-size, each painted six times with a different perspective/shadow.  Each perspective corresponds to the height of the shelf it sits on. And here comes the fun part. The shelves themselves cast shadows that banter with the painted shadows on the canvas.  A cozy-intellectual, game of shadows. A Puzzle of pots.  Painting. Sculpture. Shadow.

This piece speaks of “home” to me  and warmth, although it reads grayscale. Intriguing. These normally utilitarian items, carefully elevated and precisely glorified en mass.

For each one, memories of my steam-kissed mother or grandmother, stirring. Spoons tasting over the stove, back and forth checking the oven.   My grandfather’s sink vigil,  baptizing dishes, washing their stain away. And I contemplate the meaning of home.  What makes us leave it, what draws us back from far places. Memories like water, fill these vessels.  Which pots do we keep of our “home” which do we forge anew.  Arranging new values with old traditions in our own family’s collage. And then the shade Time wields its brush of shadows.

My dreams are like your vigils.      Jorge Luis Borges


3 Comments on “Hand me that pot”

  1. SigO says:

    uh hmmm (clears throat), it was MY in-laws, not yours that ruined that pot, haha. I saw it coming too, so when she pulled out your fancy, schmancy soup pot to make popcorn, I quickly diverted her to the one in question. hey, quality pots are important in our house.

  2. SigO says:

    I love that if we get lost from each other, I can wait for you by this painting and eventually you will walk in the room.


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