So I kissed the pastry chef at BarleySwine Friday night in front of a full table of friends. Some of whom didn’t know me too well. Would it be soo cowardly of me to say a painting made me do it? I guess I can’t blame Helen Frankenthaler for my indiscretion (at least from the viewpoint of my significant other). If I were in France lets say, where such expressions of affection are par for the course, the kiss would simply be a continental gesture of thanks.
And, in my family we were taught to always “kiss the cook”. . . right? The pastry chef was standing right there, next to me, leaning in. Right after I had devoured the last crumbs of strawberry shortcake with mini-meranges so smoothsweet like little sighs of angel breath. Giddy and high on a French Sauternes, lost in culinary oblivion, tripping down a dangerously hedonistic path. When your body outruns your brain, and “swack” you’ve done it before your brain even knows.
This painting illustrates what happened in that instant, with its beautiful coral passion, pressing up against the thinnest linear blue. I rather think the conventional blue will be the loser in this contest. For lines will be crossed. The redround bouche in the bottom right corner, to me implies a coy kiss.
Frankenthaler is generally known as one of the first of the color field painters. She thinned out the paint, poured and dripped it right onto raw canvas, creating intense colors charging around, yet embedded in the canvas. Many artists after seeing the freedom and allure of her work fell in love with the idea of color play as the only point to painting. This was the early 1950’s and Helen visited Jackson Pollack’s studio several times which also brought gestural vigor to her work.
After a bit of reflection, I think a hug just wouldn’t do in this situation. What is appropriate thanks for a man whose life work is an homage to sugar? Only a sweet kiss.