Wriggle Room

Fran Shalom, Wiggleroom, 2011

Fran Shalom, Wiggleroom, 2011

If you haven’t papercut your pinky on the slim corner of sanity, then maybe you aren’t pushing the life envelope hard enough. Or maybe you have solid mental health genes (also good). This painting reminds me of the daily tip-toe tripping of the mental health wire and our need to balance out these “wiggles.”

The background color – this minty pea soup green – is also the color of the walls of the mental hospital one of my best friends stayed in. Checked in to that facility to get the wiggles out. But it’s very routine in there, no wiggle room. Only pills, clocks and talks. If you have the dough. The bill alone could drive you nuts.

I have the distinct impression that these deep purple wiggles will not be worked out. Are the green walls giving structure to the wiggles, lending a stable hand? Or are the wiggles encroaching on the green walls in a slow-mo land grab? Is it a stalemate, a writhing truce with ground being lost and gained in equal measure. Or a protracted battle of attrition with sanity as the long shot?

Don’t miss the red dots which could be game changers. Stabilizers or trauma points? Although they may just be ticklish.

I just found out wriggle and wiggle aren’t interchangeable (though I did it anyway). Wiggle is a back and forth movement. Wriggle is a turning twisting movement a.k.a. to squirm.

So there is wriggle room in a wiggle room. But not the other way around. Drives me crazy.

Irises to arms!

Irises Vincent van Gogh 1889 Getty Center Los Angeles California

Irises Vincent van Gogh 1889 Getty Center Los Angeles California

Last week we celebrated the return of the daffodils; this week I’m all about irises.  I’ve noticed the ruffled puffs of white floating here and there around town and they reminded me of this beauty of van Gogh’s.  A product of his Arles period, van Gogh painted the irises while battling mental instability, as a patient of  the St. Remy asylum.  Wandering through their spring gardens, these drew his eye and brush.

I’m so glad because if any flower deserves glory these do. However their usual rendering is pallidly romantic.  These are ravenous irises, marching across the canvas.  Their  leaves like sworded tongues seem intent on devouring the cobalt blooms.  The petals of the flowers in motion, waggle and chatter nervously back and forth.

The rigorous twist of the flowers is calmed by a horizontal three part structure, brown earth at bottom, green/blue irises middle, yellow field a top.  An angled thrust of blue irises though the earth section keeps things interesting, by giving us the feeling that we have just come upon this scene.  It’s not staged like past still life representations.

Waving a white flag, a fair iris stands in lone opposition to the fray. A message of peace perhaps. To savor tranquility, before the sun’s heat takes all.