February 28th, 2011
I neglected duties on Sunday so Monday gets you two.
I started with the Chagall because, well, I love him — I especially love him in blue. I just wanted to write about him since I hadn’t for quite some time. & then along came the Nares with its sensuous creamy tresses. What seemed simple expressionist dolloping at first became something much more interesting within seconds of focused gazing: that dark blueblack cluster on the left center balanced out the opening up into white void on the right; the repeated diagonal units on the bottom made me hunt for other repeated vectors and shapes. Then I started to imagine I was seeing, in Nares’ entire composition, something like the slow-stuttering, low-bandwidth-delay video of a blue-wigged woman as she runs by, laughing at me.
Now back to Chagall. Chagall & his glorious worlds of teal and indigo and kelp and moss and all infinite blue & greenblue hues in between, all in defiance of name. & the nonblues too: that little guitar-pick shaped smidge of sea-green on the left of the tree, the chalky ghosty bone-white presences that anchor the piece as much as do the blues (bird spirit atop, fish-trunk below, city behind); plus those sulfur splotches and roseate blossoms.
Then, as with so much of Chagall, color opens you up so richly & serenely to emotion, & you encounter such enchanting non-linear narrative: what happened on this island? What will happen? A woman, sad or just waiting: love in blossom? Or in its last flower before taken by sea mist? Look at the ghost plants in the foreground already taking on the foggy aspect of faded photographs. And consider the leaping fish (ancient symbol of fertility) and, not far behind it, a bellied out sail as the vessel makes its goodbyes.
Check out the Chagall retrospective at the SFMOMA for more of his work.
Also please check out more of Nares’ work at www.jamesnares.com.
All writing © copyright C. Way / Snailcrow.com 2011