Thursday, November 08, 2007

Vogel and the White Bull

Murder of Crow Books will be issuing a new edition of Vogel and the White Bull next year and I am currently working on the editor's changes and suggestions.

Below is another section concerning the function of images-one of the major themes of the book.

Elisa sipped on her beer.

“When I left Germany, I was working on a study of Heinrich’s head. It’s realistic, but with the usual tricks of Expressionism. For some reason now, I feel I could paint the same study with a new resonance. I think I understand a little more about the resonance of life. Before, I was painting what I saw physically; but now, I want to capture some of the mystery of what it is to be a Vogel or a Harding. I want to see beyond the skull into the psyche and beyond it to the spirit that animates the skull.”

“What does that mean?” asked Tracey. “I don’t get it.”

At that moment the waiter arrived with Vogel’s drink and Jonathan ordered another round for the table.

“It means, Tracey,” said Elisa, looking at her closely, “I’ve discovered something inside me that makes my vision of others numinous or mysterious. I’ve tapped into some new lode of energy that wants to get out through me and my art.”

“I still don’t get it,” reiterated Tracey sipping her margarita.

“We understand or are led by images. Sometimes the images are flat and inanimate. At other times, they are alive and electric, magical and mysterious, mystical or ineffable. Something out here in New Mexico has touched me and I have a sense of wonder I didn’t use to have. The other day, I met an Indian who told me a story and I could see the characters of the story. But I also felt there was something behind the story, the people were archetypes, expressing some greater meaning. I know these feelings emanate from me, but that doesn’t lessen the excitement or the beauty of the image. I also realize that certain images, because of cultural and personal reasons, are imbued with emotion or energy. I think I can reproduce those images in my art that will touch the observers in the same way.”

“Can you give me an example?” asked Jonathan who was very interested in Elisa and her new approach to her art.

Elisa thought for a moment and then said, “Suppose I paint a very realistic painting of a nude woman with a large snake across her body.”

“Well,” said Jonathan smiling, “it would be symbolic.”

“Yes,” she answered. “All of a sudden there would be all types of mythic, sexual, and religious associations from the image of the snake juxtaposed on to the nude woman.”

They were silent for a moment, thinking about the image, making their own associations, and painting their own picture in their imaginations.

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