Sunday, November 05, 2006

An Afternoon In Thinkville

Did you ever have one of those days where you just want to sit at home, drink coffee, mellow out, drink coffee, turn some Tears For Fears down real low, talk to the cat a bit… muse upon life?
That’s where I am at today. I want to spend an afternoon in Thinkville.
← Feeling a bit like this fish here. That’s me, today.
There is never a lack of things to think about, if you really think about it.

One thing that is currently driving me mental involves a certain painting I discovered. I should back up a bit perhaps, to the genesis of my obsession.
A couple of weekends ago I did something quite unusual for me. I went to a coffeeplace OTHER than Starbucks. Yes, I know, it is difficult for me to believe also. I was walking down Sussex and for some reason, turned into the Timothy’s on Sussex and George, rather than walking across the street to my venerated Chapters/Starbucks.
In I went.

I ordered their strongest brew and looked around the place, doctoring my beverage with some cream and honey. Hmmm… place was filled with some real neat abstract artwork.
I sat down at this one table. And then, instead of plowing directly into the reading of a book, I looked straight ahead. And then it happened. The epiphanous moment.

I was transfixed.
And here is what I saw.
My fascination was instantaneous, but my realization of WHY, was not.
And I think this is probably a hallmark of great art.
The capture happens quite quickly, and before you have time to be fearful of what happened, your captor speaks to you, in soothing tones. Informs you that you are free to leave, and you don’t want to.
I just kept staring at the painting, and it kept speaking. It has not stopped doing so.

Soon I began to see that my fascination had a lot to do with two major factors:
1) I like lines. I have always been this way. My sense of interior decoration bears this out. I prefer sharp angles. I like “Z” or “X” better than “C” or “O”. On my wall is a very square, steel clock. My main lamp has zero roundness to it. Rectangular shade, base and body. I like definite corners, vertical symmetry.
2) My second area of fascination has to do with the fact that I see a lot of my own specific character in this work of art. It’s the red line going through the center of the grid of lines that kills me.

Perhaps it is difficult to see on my page here, but the center line is red, as opposed to the surrounding black lines.
Only one is red. I love that.
The red line is me.

I began to see that, ideologically speaking, this red line is an amazing depiction of the way my own thought processes have developed and evolved in the past tumultuous decade of my life.
At the lower left-hand corner, the red line begins (notice this) UNDER the general toothpick pile of lines. One might even say → begins under what appears to be a lot of confusion.
As it reaches upwards it penetrates (at the center, no less) all other competing lines and comes out on top of them.
I love this.
All of these other lines (ideas, for me the lines are ideas, systems) try to get to the center of the field of view, but they never do. That space remains blank, but for the red line’s presence. At some point, these others are avoiding a central issue. What results is a sort of spiraling or design that appears to have a pattern to it, but only as it is dependent on other lines to make it so. Any single line is stunted, half-baked, compared to this red line.
[Does this interpretation begin to sound arrogant? I concede that it appears to be so, but it is not so, in reality.]

There is only one other line one must speak about.
This is the black line that lies atop all of them, including the red.

See it there? Vertically leaning, to the left of center?
It is the only UNBROKEN line. Avoiding the corners, and even the center, yet declaring itself, nonetheless.
I don’t like it.
I know what that line is.
This is the line of Arrogance.
The line that does not want to work through competing systems, but would prefer to rely upon domination.
To lazily lie atop them all and say “I am King” and there is no other. I need not work with the Center, need not meet the Center, for I am the Center.

The last thing I will mention is that the red line is the only line that makes it from corner to corner. See that?
But on the way to its freedom, there was pain. There is an “Ow”… “Owww”… “Owww” in that bottom portion of its journey. It was broken.
This painting is me.

The artist is a man by the name of Bill Murray.
No, not the guy from Groundhog Day and SNL!
I URGE you to visit Bill Murray and his work. → CLICK HERE!
I desperately want to own this painting, and I will own it.
It is called Obliquity 5. Purchase one for yourself HERE!

I have a wall picked out for it. Yes I do. As soon as I resolve a minor budgeting issue here, this painting is going to be on my wall.
To remind me of who I am.

I am greatly looking forward to tonight because it is Entmoot Night.
Entmoot Night.
This is a weekly meeting where three friends and I discuss all manner of “Red Line” type things. Thankfully, none of us are The Black Line.
At our various unique stages of journey, we help each other see toward the upper right hand corner of ever-decreasing ignorance.
The land beyond the frame….
You can find out way more than you ever wanted to know about Entmoots, HERE.


In thinking about the Obliquity 5 painting this afternoon, an old poem I wrote, came to mind. You can find it HERE if you so choose to visit.
Knowing where we are always involves knowing where we’ve been.
I leave you today with this final thought.
If you are breathing, and if you are healthy, think.
This is no time to be bored.
Be the red line.



Cold Molasses said...

Wow Cip! This confirms it for me. You have way too much time on your hands. I'm also wondering if it was just cream and sugar you doctored that coffee with. See you at the Entmoot tonight!

cipriano said...

Now now Col Mol. That is NOT a Red-Line© thing to say to me! Not very fellow-Entish!
But yeah. I've got a lot of time, I guess. What was it? My playing of Tears For Fears that made you realize I am overly nostalgic today and have more time than the average ten people? The fact that my cat talks back to me? In the original Greek?
Yes... will be good to listen to your ongoing heresies tonight. See you soon!
[With your money Col Mol.... honest to God, if you were ANY kind of friend, you would right now do the right thing and ORDER ME THAT PAINTING! All it takes is a few clicks. Do you need my mailing address?]

Isabella said...

Ok, this is weird. Cuz first I was going to say, I know that coffee spot, I spent quite a bit of time in that coffee spot (though it's had a few incarnations and wasn't a Timothy's then), in fact, I used to work right upstairs from that coffeespot (hence, why I spent so much time there). And then you reveal the artist as Bill Murray, and I think to myself, I knew a Bill Murray, I worked with a Bill Murray — in that very spot above that very coffeeshop. And having clicked through the website I'm fairly certain it is in fact the same Bill Murray, him having been Creative Art Director and all. Now, he left that employer quite some time before I did, but — and this is the really freaky part, Cip — I espied him on a few occasions sitting in the Starbucks at Chapters across the street.

I think you're reading too much into the black line though. The pile-up has to stop somewhere, the one on top is incidental. Although, I see the thing as 3-dimensional (and it occurs to me just now that you may not) — the red line is not broken, oww, in fact it's completely solitary, touching nothing, running through a void circumscribed by overlapping toothpicks. You can create your own toothpick model at home to better visualize this.

Stefanie said...

Very nice painting. I do not quite share your love of lines, but It's good. I see it like Isabella though, as a 3-D with the red line going through the center void like a laser beam or something. But that's what's so cool about art, just like with books, everyone gets to have their own interpretation, and if you are the red line Cip, that picture belongs on your wall! Hope it hangs there soon.