it's a bloom in
in the blink of
with a string of words;
a litany of syllables
that distort my dreams
one scene at a time.
- It's like an unravelling
of film from stricken reels -
and become searing
in my vision;
blots of migraine-bright
light which grinds black
like a negative of
of clarity, coalesced
of a whole into
And the lights
that once marked
now focus into
vast stellar fields
Which remind me that
here, there is no ground;
and that here,
I am falling into
Friday Feature #011
A Collection of Recent Discoveries in Abstract and Surreal Art
To see work similar to what is featured here, browse through my favourites.
Early life becomes an exploration of invisible parameters, circles beyond circles, as one pushes out to test the boundaries of safety. There is one’s bedroom, one’s home, neighborhood, school and town, state and nation. Early on, maps become important documents – declarations of being and rights and privileges. In the art world, throughout history, maps have been a constant measure of human progress, from the Phoenecians recording their trade routes over 2000 years ago, or pre-Columbian times in which maps pictured the world as a flat chessboard balanced atop huge elephants or whales, the oceans spilling over the edges as waterfalls in infinite space – to the latest details of the surface of Mars, courtesy of the Curiosity probe. There’s something beyond the purely practical in always knowing where you’re at, look no further the mania of checking in with digital GPS devices. Somehow, just knowing you have a map in your pocket to guide you, maybe even one that speaks to you is a kind of a liberating power over the common frustrations of life.
The opening credits of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” features a massive raised relief map of the series’ warring kingdoms. In genre fiction, maps of the mythic lands in which the stories take place have always been a special enjoyment. From finding the Garden of Eden, to elaborate maps guiding Indy on his quest for the Holy Grail, or the map of “Hyborian Times” sketched out by Robert E. Howard to better immerse you in the wanderings of his barbarian hero Conan, storytellers have always known that there’s something about the “authentification” of seeing a map that can make even the most dubious quest seem real.
Mythical Maps are currently enjoying a resurgence in our favorite videogames, detailed 3D virtual "maps" upon which the mayhem of Call of Duty, Skyrim, and Gears of War are played out, are things of wonder in and of themselves. The DLC cry of “new maps” has become the call that new magical killing fields are at the ready to be tested for their vicarious thrill-potential. Where once explorers sought out maps to the Fountain of Youth or the gold-paved streets of El Dorado, today’s adventurers seek out the perfect multiplayer map.
From our shared common knowledge of the islands and coves within Peter's Neverland, to the navigation of the Dothraki Sea, to the celestial cartography of hidden maps to unknown worlds within the stars above us, mythical maps have carved out a space for themselves right along side, and just as important as, the maps based on a “knowable” earth. The importance of a map to any fantasy story reader is the key, the literal base anchoring the fantasy, to be referred to over and over again as a story unfolds. So much background information, and so much added story texture, can be conveyed to a reader through the art of a carefully thought out and executed map.
A small part in each of us is the sense of where we are not only physically but psychically and spiritually. Whether real or not, a great map tells a great story. One could argue that a masterful cartographer must be a skilled storyteller as well. As we create our mental maps of the fantasy realms we prefer to inhabit as part of our existence in the sometimes mundane world, let us celebrate the imagination of our mythic mapmakers on deviantART.
Early statuary depicted one’s god’s, and since the medium is
as much the message as the visual message itself – the medium had
to proclaim: This god is as forever lasting as this stone that His
rendering is hewn out of! But all that is solid eventually melts
away into the air, even the most powerful ancient gods and kings –
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
By the time of the Renaissance, sculpture had managed to evolve away from the more ancient obsession of
depicting the Gods Themselves (indeed, with the encouragement in the belief that statues of gods were literally
material manifestations of gods or at least housings for gods’ essences) and became more focused on tableaus depicting
epiphanous moments from religious narratives...
For the next few centuries, sculpture continued to seek an eternal permanence for human (mainly military or political)
heroes as much as for religious figures, to which anyone having visited the Lincoln Memorial or Mount Rushmore can attest.
But the impulse remained to somehow keep beings, whether gods or humans, somehow “alive” by capturing them in immortal materials
that would not crumble away as readily as mortal flesh.
Modernism finally released sculptures from the strait-jacket of being 3D portraiture of living beings or tableaux. Modern sculptures allowed
abstract expressions to take their place as solid manifestations, provocative and mind-engaging as Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings
on canvas. The desire to capture the essences of gods or great humans’ beings had finally evolved into the artist’s
desire to capture the essence of thought. The artist perceptions, to ours – the desire to capture desire itself.
It seems that modern sculpture is not about inducing a feeling of awe in the beholder, but being in the presence of a mighty god, warrior or king.
Observing is like a dream, memory or desire – suddenly becoming solid out of the thin air.
I plan on revisiting this topic early next year by interviewing the leaders in the Sculpture community here on deviantART. If you have any suggestions as to the artists you would like to me to interview please let me know in the comment section. I will be featuring a wide variety of the sculpture community in that feature.