Extensive Continuum #1
48 x 60 inches
Mixed Media with Acrylic Binder on Canvas
In the Collage with Cartier-Bresson’s Woman on a Bench, the woman seems to be suspended on slats streaming into the distance. We have a collision of unexpected experiential domains. Prehensions of tautness, hovering, the woman clutching her collar with references to chill and self-possession, her legs outstretched and floating on her cane, and other details, are to be harmonized with the perspectival movement of straight slats, which are also suspended (we do not see bench legs). We form actual entities, such as vanishing in the distance, suspension in space-time, reverie, and fading feminine elegance out of our prehensions. Notice how details such as the pearl ear drop, the flimsy gown seen below her coat and her aquiline features (on close inspection her nose bridge has a bulge which can diminish the reading of her sharp features) can contribute to feelings of refined femininity, as does the fine scale of checks on her coat. The thin line of her mouth and sharp lines of her hat brim contribute to the formal harmony, which enables us to meld the many objects touched upon in the extensive continuum into the actual unity of one experience.
Regarding the woman, I also have prehensions of an apparition and of approaching death. I respond by painting a near connection of the woman’s head with an elongated, semi-abstract, rather ghostly figure with a lifeless upside-down face just to the right of the photographed woman. I believe the monochromatic grayness of the photographs has contributed to my secondary feeling of ghostly apparition, as well as the age, “motion” and “suspension” of the woman. Above and to the right is a hand-drawn profiled head of the woman indicating reverie and ecstasy with flowers streaming from her hair. Next right is a reiteration of the newspaper upon which she sits, her hat, and a bit of gown and shoe. These details are potent to me in my initial process of concrescence. That she has a cushion suggests that she ha frequented this bench more than once.
The lower left is a crude symmetrical figure indicating a coated or wrapped animal or plantlike creature sprouting “plant-hands.” This figure is supposed to act as a metaphor of information processing suggesting more primitive typologies and storage categories upon which my concrescences are referenced. I am not satisfied with the design of this passage and hope to improve it.
Cartier-Bresson’s photograph of a lady on a park bench provides a symbol of the human consciousness in contemplation of time. The photograph of the real person on the bench becomes a particularly enriched symbol of the human capability for self- reflection because of the powerfully harmonized references of dreamy introspection, suspension in space, flow through space, age, and feminine personality that the photographer miraculously captured.