Thursday, October 7, 2010

contemplation

 Perhaps one of my all time favorite paintings. I was maybe 15 when I saw this image in my art teacher's book. It has haunted me every since. I have never seen the painting in person, so I can't speak to the paint quality. But with Friedrich, it is the subject matter that interests me. The absolute isolation fascinates me. The scale of tiny monk in the face of nature. The fact that the monk has spent a lifetime  in silence and thought, yet he walks alone by the beach. People are alone; yet we belong to the world. We feel a connection to nature, yet we are not. Contradictions. Isolation and belonging. Interior images and exterior images. I always wondered how the monk felt - What is inside the monk's head? What made me feel strange about this painting was how I approached it. Sometimes, I would be anxious for the monk - like a great wave would just suck him into the black sea. Other times, I envied him- to walk with peace and contemplate the world. I walked this morning on the beach and thought about this painting. I thought about my interior world and my physical place and being in the world. When I feel strong emotions, sometimes my head truly burns - like liquid fire. When I feel this way, I just want to be cooled.  But when my heart hurts, it is stone and heavy. When my heart hurts, the taste of acid and bitter run in my mouth. I want to be lighter and have the rock removed. I thought about these physical presences when I feel strong emotions. I wondered more about the interior. I wonder how i can access to the places - what passages allow me to get to my head and heart. 

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