Whitey Tighties

The Bather Paul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906) MOMA, New York  

The Bather Paul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906) MOMA, New York

Yesterday we observed a swimmer in the sea, gliding through currents of womby metaphysics.  Today, let’s take a look at a swimmer preparing to enter the water. You recall the watery pallet from Westerik’s piece and notice that Cezanne’s is quite similar.  Grey blues, slight green, bits of brown. I trace the pinks that highlight the vertical body of the bather. Now follow the pinks that create a horizontal swath of land behind him. These two masses balance each other; the similar colors join.  The man, rooted solidly to land. But he’s about to change that.

The bather’s toes swirl the water and you feel his contemplative mood.  This is the moment right before the splash. Heel on land. Toes tickle water. Clothes off. There is a familiar vulnerability and a sense of time suspended. And suddenly,you think you really want him to get on with it, because frankly, his vulnerability is making you a little uncomfortable.

The color blocking technique Cezanne pioneered is apparant, but he transitions his usual warm pallet to cool the effect here.  Cool and contemplative. The preparation before the ritual cleansing.  Thinking back over the day, hmmm. . . .that thing you banished to the back burner springs to mind, barrels to the front. Argh. . . You ponder for a moment to give it voice, your toes swish the water, restless.  Relaxing your muscles, flexing your joints. Preparing to forget.

A slight pause before you dive. The caught breath before the plunge.

(and the guy at the YMCA really did say that. . . he did the shoulder popping thing too)

Welcome to the jungle

The Dream Henri Rousseau (French, 1844-1910) MOMA New York

The Dream Henri Rousseau (French, 1844-1910) MOMA New York

I wish I could say this is me reclining naked, in my living room on my red velvet sofa, but alas, only the jungle part is true.  I lugged in my plants last night due to a possible freeze. The plant profusion did remind me of this jungle though, sans birds (but I swear I heard lions).

I love the feathered statuesque lilies, waving like plumage.  The lioness with her starting eyes, eyeing you– the prey.  An elephant trumpets loudly from the brush. A slithery coral hued snake. The full moon, a pearly marble orb.

It’s as if Rousseau took a slice of imaginary jungle, flattened between the pages of a book. The foreground and background are flattened out like a  flower that you press in a book and then frame; the plants here are a series of botanical prints all shoved together will-nilly.   Rigid and pointy. Very graphic. The bristly plants contrast with the rounded form of the woman’s body. And then, the stare of beady unsettling yellow eyes.

The red couch lady gazes languidly on. Looking, but not seeing. Garden of Eden or Heart of Darkness ala Conrad? (Rousseau painted it right before his death) It’s entirely possible that it is both.  I know my living room is.