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18 November 2014


Maria Lassnig, MoMA PS2, July 2014

This is only a piece, of the whole. Is it curious that we call works of art pieces? Pieces of something larger that without which they are not complete. As though, if only seeing one work, we cannot truly see what it is or what it means? And yet, we do. We see words, meanings, worlds.

I rather see in this piece birth. The womb extended from the body, a body in and of itself, albeit part of the mother's whole, and yet whole and separate of itself. A place where a new being becomes itself, becomes whole and then is separated... leaving mother and child once again, whole and separate. The piece you see to your left, however, is only a section of Maria Lassnig's painting. 

Here is the whole:

Maria Lassnig, MoMA PS1, July 2014

Does she hold her whole mind? Does she hold her own life? Her own mortality? Does Maria mourn, or is she reborn in herself, her ability to let die something that needs to be left behind? Swimming in the blue ocean, a chartreuse sun around her. A living, grass-green sky, feeding human and vegetable alike. Her eyes are closed.

Her body, her face, are living with brilliant color. If you did not see the exhibit, try to see it elsewhere. Her colors are alive in themselves, coursing as bright as oxygenated blood. As she got older, and you circled the galleries you saw Maria's colors grow bolder, brighter, freer. She is no longer held down by brown or cheated from her creativity with red. 
Yet, her legs are white, almost as though she left the paint to sit while we she went for a coffee and a paper. The skull sits on her lap like a baby, cradled in her hands, above and below, cradled secure against her stomach, itself wrapped by arms. White, like the legs, unfinished? or unknown?

Maria Lassnig, MoMA PS1, July 2014

This piece also feels to me- unfinished. And I love it in its hybrid sketch-painting state. I see an android painting its artist. All around the world is pulsing at a high vibration: orange and yellow and red, in a halo of reality. The negative space feels more true than both object and subject, laying in unbroken white, underlay outline, waiting for spirit to come and find them.

Creation creates creator. The art creates the artist, writes her, finds her, rebirths her, gives her new spirit. Our art turns us on ourselves, shows us not a mirror but a pool. Unlike Narcissus, we see below the reflection, to stones and sand beneath, to weaving fish, and swaying stems of water lilies that live within us, worlds unto themselves. Whole and separate and yet of us, containing whole other worlds of us. We see something, finally, in what we create, that is inaccessible from the surface. When we create, that deeper spirit has a chance to remake us, to give us a life we cannot have imagined.

As I child I found it unbelievable, unbearable that one thing I would never see was my own skull. When I write, there it is, gleaming white, its own eyes looking back at mine, something unsaid, waiting on me to say it.

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