Revisitation • Down On the Bottom Again • open-edition giclée print
I was not gifted with buoyancy.
It's not so bad, here on the ocean floor. Splintered sunlight shimmers through the froth and tide. The violence of the waves overhead cannot reach me. My heavy body is caressed by the kindest of currents. The pressure of the sea depths is gentle compared to that up above.
Yet, I would float.
The beauty of re-posting these prints (see the Revisitation series of posts), and writing in more depth about the artwork, is that I’m beginning to see the connecting filaments.
Sure, there were themes and concepts and metaphors that I consciously worked into the images - ocean and waves, sky and clouds, stone and wood(s). Then there are all these other bits of visual language, thematic shorthand, that I hadn’t really been thinking about.
Or cord, thread, twine, vines, and on and on. I must have been aware, on some level, that I was employing this motif so much. Until re-posting these though, I had no idea how much I used (and am still using!) rope to indicate… well, a whole bunch of stuff.
In A Welcome Messenger, the red thread represents the jumble of conversations and communications passing overhead.
Imagine, if you will, all of the satellite signals from TV and cell phone conversations, text messages and radio suddenly solidifying into long strands of yarn. Some run directly from one person to another. Some split apart into thousands, millions of filaments, spreading (mis)information to the masses. Imagine picking one meaningful idea out of that mess.
Red Thread Expectations re-contextualizes the Japanese folklore (hmph, seems it’s Chinese in origin, if Wikipedia is to be believed ) of the red string of fate. While it may still connect a person with his or her soulmate, that expectation of destiny becomes restrictive, binding.
And here, in Down On the Bottom Again, the rope extends to a life preserver in a futile attempt to gain buoyancy.
Rather than being confining, the cord represents an attempt to gain freedom; to break the grasping bonds of mass and gravity, to defy natural law, through our own will and machinations.
This rope can be twisted into just about any shape, metaphorically speaking.
Down on the Bottom Again is the 11th print to drift back into the shop. Which means that I’m nearly halfway through with these things. I’m gonna try to keep going at this 3-a-week pace, but I’ve got some other obligations coming up that might force a short break.