I haven’t fallen in love for awhile. Don’t have the time. Probably not the emotional energy either.
But here I’m crushed.
Love at first sight, when I didn’t believe in love at first sight.
It’s a still life, but I didn’t recognize that at first. The surging lines and the color. Still life’s are usually. . . so still and this one has all the right moves. Sexy even. Line meets color. Two distinct elements, separate then join together in overall composition. Line teases your eye out then the color pulls you back to center. Two to tango.
I may love it more than — my iphone.
Move along people, nothin’ to see here. Another Dutch painting sans still life.
Wait, the Dutch and Flemish – weren’t they the painters that elevated still life to legendary status. Now MIA. Missing flowers, missing fruit, no pitcher, no half-eaten meat. All in absentia.
Which begs the question, why missing? What am I not seeing, my blind spots? In art, in life.
The answer – plenty.
Richard Wiseman at the University of Herfordshire shows us in his study of self-proclaimed “lucky” and “unlucky” people. He told them all to look through the newspaper (specially designed) and count the number of photos. The “lucky” people found the number almost immediately. The “unlucky” people took quite a long time and came up with wrong answers. Why? What did the self-proclaimed “unlucky” people not see? The answer – written bold, in two inches high letters, inside the front page.
Half-way through the special newspaper, the message “STOP COUNTING, TELL THE EXPERIMENTER YOU HAVE SEEN THIS AND WIN £250” also in two inch high letters. How many “unlucky” persons got the cash? Not one.
Stillness. Easy to overlook. In fact, I usually pass right on by without a thought. Some could call them boring, but a still life is a meditation whispering a secret. A trade secret to most of the all time greats.
Meditation, like this painting, offers keys and hinges. Quiets the banging on our obstacle doors. A key, unlocking. A hinge-supported swinging. I hold this idea that if I am still, I can find the key and fashion a hinge that swings my problemdoor open.
The key is usually an observation, finding the root cause, the heart of the matter. If I take the time to un-ego myself enough to finally see it. The hinge is working with the structures of things, of organizations, of people. Finding out how they swing.
The structure of this still life reveals a beautiful hinge. A circular center holds roundripe berries. Forms a circular mass filling a cup of layered circles. In motion but still — the hinge around which all the other shapes turn. A series of squares radiate out, overlapping. Each piece receiving motion from its texture or position. Your eye follows the outside objects, starting at the knife, swinging around to the cork to the orange brick back and around to the knife. A slow revolution.
This work is more than structure, it is also a speaking key. Speaking not of berries or of brick, but of foundness. Of deeply touching the those things around you. A tender word embraced, a heartfelt thanks given, time to understand offered. Finding the keys at your fingertips.