Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Off to Brighton

I carried the Red Head back with me to the Gallery yesterday, to share my trove of beauty and delight. In all the times she has been in this town, she has never been to the Gallery, so busy is she where ever her desk is. Again, the lovely children, this time sitting and drawing on their little pads, Van Gogh's "idea of generosity," those almost bronzed sunflowers which I called a thistle in yesterday's telling.Together we found four large Turner's with storm reddened skies and that most prophetic one, of the early steam train coming out of the mists of gray weather, only its head making clear progress, mist giving way to mist and peering out of it, the face of modernity.  I always think of Dicken's love-hate writings about the relentless coming of the steam trains to London, the pulling down of poor neighborhoods, neighborhoods filled with life and love and struggle, the home of so many of his characters, where eccentricities flourished. Dickens who could be city planner or king of the marshes.

We stopped at five small paintings by Hogarth on the way out--his comments on the vagaries of marriage--each one a novel telling a tale of secret sex, the pox, the foolishness, the doings of the lawyer Silvermouth who is last seen fleeing through a window, the flash of his buttocks, as he leaves the mayhem he has caused behind him.

We had lunch in the gallery's cafe, in a spot of sun and spoke of how these acts of the imagination, the devotion to line and color, to composition and meaning touched our hearts in such times as these. How long did Turner struggle for just that touch of vermillion in his huge sky dreamed world, and now a century later, we gaze at skies and seas we will never see and live his moment of imagined life. The courage, the fanatic belief that such things matter, color and seeing into the heart of things, to offer that vision, without force, without destruction, to the human future. I think of the thousands gathered in Cario's Square, the colors of their mass, the lines of their gathered hope and I can see a never ending canvas filled with this portrait of possibilities.

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