Monday, June 25, 2012

Veiling the Image: Wake and Visual Art

Doug Argue is one of a number of artists who found inspiration in Finnegans Wake, carrying over some of the themes into other media.  (Of course Wake emulates music, theater, motion pictures, photography, telegraphy, radio, and television, just to name a few off the top.)  So why not a painting that is inspired by it?

Here's a press release from his current show:
Minnesota-born artist Doug Argue will present four monumental conceptual paintings in the main gallery. Argue is best known for his large-scale abstract paintings that explore infinite space with a scientific and mathematical foundation. Argue often incorporates text—as he equates letters to atoms—and rearranges them, constructing new meanings to found writing. More...
Here's his 9 1/2' X13 1/2' Hither and Thithering Waters of Night.   (I trust the title will sound familiar!)

Here's a page from his website where you can see a details blown up.

I borrowed the term, "veiling the image" from Jackson Pollock, who used it to describe his work. He had a process that often started out with archetypical images and figures as a starting point and went through an accumulative process of obscuration.  (An idea that sounds all too familiar.)

Pollock tended to improvise and therefore his art has more of the jazz musician or beat writer, but he was definitely aware of Joyce's way of layering and interlacing and was influenced by it.

The result was an effect that was highly interlaced, with no beginning and not end.  Much like the Book of Kells which
Joyce considered the closest visual analog to his work.

I just found out today that the Catholic church uses the term for placing veils over the sacred images during Lent.  (Thanks Google.)

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