Why I went to Art School.

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2014-11-29 21.25.32

Why I went to Art School, acrylic on wood, 137 x 87 cm, Luigi Monteferrante

Clearly, attending art school serves a purpose. You learn technique,  history, the lingo, the affrontery, brashness, abuse of being critiqued by peers, and you may not learn how to defend your self, your inner self,  but you learn how to strike back.

No, no. You are not supposed to strike back, counter-attack, volley verbal even physical violence on all assailants, but rather defend your work in a pacific, if impassioned, argumentative, reasonable, even-handed, cordial, gentlemanly civilised fashion.

And beat the shit out of the most ardent critics.

One by one, in the days, weeks, months, even years, as they emerge from the repertoire theatre, the romantic dinner with a fellow intellectual at a bring-your-own-wine trattoria, or schmaltzy diner, or sauntering free of admirers, a glib one or two, after a vernissage, a finissage,  a talk.

You strike flesh, bone, muscle and nerve beneath flesh, bone, muscle, nerve, rage and frustration – oh, the sweet, anarchic, bloodlustful freedom that comes with vengeance!

To talk, discuss, debate, rant and rave, scream and shout, insult, even push and shove – yes, these are fine and good,  acceptable, but violence, ultraviolence?

No.

Well, why not?

Yes, okay. He, too, will write critiques, slag off his peers, laugh at the nonsense on display, scorn at essays describing trash proclaimed titillatingly fresh art of new, up – and – coming, established artists by mediocrities, but also by Professors Emeritus, Distinguished, and their tribe if woolly hangers-on via his own essays, blogs, posts, talks, seminars, conferences, and questions during his peers’ events.

But why rule out the power of physical force?

Why not use the stick when the carrot, one presumably huge and inflatable set floating in the currents of  the Thames, Hudson, and Seine Rivers,  when the carrot proves insufficient?

A club, cane, umbrella, a tome, bottle a well-aimed kick, or slew of bare-knuckled punches, applied like strokes to a brigjt, witty, now darkening, wistful face.

A good-hearted, generous beating as performance art!

A happening which continues when Ignoramus is wheeled into the hospital, tubes sticking from his arms and nostrils, contraptions beeping and blinking, nurses wailing for more blood.

Yes, more blood.

Of course, there’s the Law.

Tell that to Signor Gallerista, says this artist, cutting short, putting on the mask of Caravaggio, tomorrow Chris Marlowe, the day after…

Well, I won’t tell you, will I, in case your sleight of hand has proved harmful, ineffective, or you’ve failed to notice, and now you are looking behind your back in a crowd, an admiring crowd of art school students, peers, artists, journalists, critics, a general public wherein stands, is approaching, a man faintly resembling, can it be..?

End of Part One.

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Shipwrecked

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Shipwrecked, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm, Luigi Monteferrante,  2014

Shipwrecked, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014

This is simply how I feel when I am not painting.  A stormy sea, a ship on the horizon that appears to be afloat, but for how much longer?

I feel the same.  Not being in a gallery, not getting attention, not drawing a handful of collectors, journalists, curators is beginning to weigh heavily on me. It takes me longer to jump from bed, but once up, I am fast at work, buoyed by my     visitations, visions, muses, and love of the physical act of painting, the full ritual: putting on an old blue robe, preparing a fresh pot of tea, turning on the radio, filling a cup with water for my paintings, rolling out my tray of paints, squeezing paint from tubes, applying that first stroke onto the board – I am off in a blustery breeze, rain or shine,  on deck to face the oncoming squalls and storms into the unknown, excited, enthralling,  exhausting – my right arm sometimes aches – but ultimately fulfilling.

Now I do sail. A sailor at port is pleased, satisfied to stretch his legs,  talk to people ashore,  have a shot of rum or two, but it won’t be long, he will begin to be assailed by a malaise; the only cure, to board ship, and sail off again into territories,  new and unexplored,  or old and familiar; so, too, I with some recent work.

Excluding Shipwrecked.

Notwithstanding my own malaise, spleen, ennui, listlessness, deep frustration for the above mentioned reasons, to be expected, a feeling shared by many artists, writers, poets, and I happen to be all three, there is at least one other interpretation to this picture.

Look closely, and what appears to be a ship on the horizon, also looks like a turned head; from there, follow the distended body, shoulders,  chest,  abdomen, hips of a body washed ashore.

Wet, tried, beaten and stormbashed, but alive, blood and firewater in his gut.

Ready for a new rumbunctious adventure.

2014-11-28 18.27.28Dancing at The Jive, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm, Luigi Monteferrante 2014

Ever fallen in love with a painting – ugh, no – someone in a painting?

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ThePygmalion

The Pygmalion, a Family Portrait, was not the original title, but on its completion, I sat down exhausted at the end of the day, and glanced at the picture. And then I fell in love with the woman standing on the right. I just couldn’t take my eyes off of her.

Now, as a student, I was decidedly on the side of Plato. The idea of form, the ideal of Beauty, Beauty as Truth, were all so stunningly real to me – me in a class of rough-and-ready DYI Aristoteleans, teacher included. Likewise, Evil, Ugliness, Falsehood – one had no doubts when you saw, experienced, suffered them. When you came across Beauty – a girl, a woman, a novel, a poem, a song, a cityscape – it hit you hard, plain and simple. No lingering doubts, no room for debate, nothing to explain, declaim, describe. You either got it, or you didn’t.

Love at first sight, love at first listen, love at first read.

Let’s skip the first object/subject of love, as it is the last love object/subject, but at first listen, I know it was Elvis and the Beatles, this just barely into elementary school, with the album cover of Elvis in a gold suit, while the latter was a double album with a silver graffitti-like cover, an album I still have.

The first movie I ever saw at a cinema was The Song Remains the Same, by Led Zeppelin, and they were number one on my list of favorites for a short time because then Saturday Night Fever and, more importantly, the Sex Pistols became the huge life-transforming experiences that changed my cultural mindscape.

At the same time, sane time, I loved Fellini movies, went to the Seville Theatre to see art and cult films on a regular basis, and read Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, and the Russian classics also on a pretty regular basis, simply because they did something for me, to me.

They blew my mind. They were objects of beauty – beautiful, intricate, rich, abundant, corpose or full-bodied Language, huge spirits formidably described and depicted, and reading made me a participant, or maybe just a nosy neighbour with voyeuristic tendencies, which every writer ought to possess.

(Oh, and since we’re harking back to those formative years, few would dispute the striking looks of Brooke Shields, in the famous jean ads, or in Pretty Baby, the starlet an obvious jaw-dropping mind-altering beauty.)

Visually, too, the works of Michelangelo, paintings and sculpture, were of Platonic Perfection; whatever it was he wanted to portray, there were no doubts he got it absolutely right -and why he Towers above all else.

Picasso turned things on its head, why he is a great, but there are, too, the small more intimate delights, luminiscent beings in poetry, or lines of poetry, and we each have our favourites.

And then there’s Macbeth, King Lear, Richard III, etc.

Now what do you do? You want to possess this beauty, read it over and over again, discover heretofore undiscovered nuances, the object of beauty like a disco mirror ball – rich, multifaceted, a being beautiful in itself, enrichened by the infinite number of reflections of which it is the source and centre.

You observe it, watch it arise from the painting, imagine a prequel, sequel, an afterlife external to the painting wherein it is trapped, and it is one with you as only a few of the previous paintings are. Most are like discarded lovers,or lovers who dropped you,  or  unrequited love, or brief flickers of love, palliatives against loneliness, or plain sex and a need for intimacy, and bodies, but in The Pygmalian, there is more, something deeper, more profound: the summation of one’s powers, weaknesses, an element of chance, a fate, joy, loss, sadness.

Fortunately, life is grand, life is beautiful and rich because, in the end, we know deep down what makes it all worthwhile, why, in fact, we keep on dancing and painting to our favourite Tunes.

Last Night  a DJ Saved my life

Last Night a DJ saved my life, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm, Luigi Monteferrante 2014

Fictionalism: La Chinoise, Madames Absinthe & Oppio

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Chinoise

Fictionalism. A new movement. Its manifesto: fantasy, imagination, lies, mythologies, currents and undercurrents of desire, fears, ambitions, aspirations, anxieties, and the vast range of human emotions contribute to creating the work of visual art. Hm, not much of a manifesto, but rather a description of the process that may or may not lead to the production of a work of art, great or poor that it may turn out to be .

Fictionalism. The set piece, the painting, as a fiction, an alternative history, a meta-history, an unwritten chapter of the life you might have lived, or would like to live, or simply a page in a book, a large page given the size of the above painting – 106 x 96 cm – that the observer enters, plays upon, participates in, loses him/her self in what becomes a different commedia, play.

Fictionalism. It requires your participation. A performance piece. A mental, imaginative one.

Not for the first time, but less frequently than I presumably ought to, I sat in an armchair on completing La Chinoise. I sipped my tea and looked at the painting. I just stared.

The more I looked, the more I was drawn into the picture, into the room, onto the bed, the women. I smelled the perfumes, scents, incense, the body odour. I could hear the noise from the Street outside the wooden storm Windows. I could see the curtains move and reading the ancient proverbs inscribed on the walls. I touched the bodies of the two women, and saw myself with the pale Chinoise lying naked and pearly White on the stark black satin sheets. I tasted the absinthe, smoked the opium. I lay in bed staring into her eyes, stroking her legs, while more liquid gurgled into a glass, and a match was struck. A flicker, then darkness, silence.

I would never leave this room.

Why go to museums & galleries?

art, art criticism, artforum, visual arts
Down at the Disco at Midnight, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood.

Down at the Disco at Midnight, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood.

I spent the last week in London. I visited several galleries in and around Albermarle, Cork, New/Old Bond Streets and I meandered through and across the following museums: Imperial War Museum, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, National Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery.

Friday Night & MOnday Morning

Friday Night & Monday Morning, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

I also visited Somerset House to see Blondie, the Advent of Punk, featuring the photography of Chris Stein, and I paid fifteen pounds to see the Anselm Kiefer exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Right from the start of my wanderings, I wondered and debated the question:

Why go to museums?

Every image is available via our smartphones and computers. It is all on the web and is accessible 24/7 without the least inconvenience. No bus, train, taxi to take. No braving the rain, snow, sleet, heat and smog, nor the crowds. And it doesn’t cost 15 pounds.

I went to the aforementioned museums and galleries because I love walking and it gave me a sense of purpose. I saw art that was interesting and art that was drivel, the equivalent of drip painting by anybody who is not Pollock.

Pool Hall, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Pool Hall, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Entre-nous, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Menage a Cinque, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Menage a Cinque, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014

La Nuite des Maudits, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014

abstract3

Self-portrait, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Of course, some art had me wondering why my own work was not on exhibit in any number of galleries, and since no answer was forthcoming, I concentrated less on my own work, and tried to understand and enjoy the work I was seeing.

I was not blown away. Kiefer’s work, but not all, was powerful, willingly dreary, German. Grand in scale, they filled the immense walls of the Academy and could not but impress.

And viewers or spectators gazed in silence or, at most, whispered commentary, which leads to my next question:

Why is everyone so quiet? It’s not like going to Church or the Synagogue, or is it?

Maybe anything we might say would sound trite, stupid, pretentious, misplaced, and few of us want to sound uneducated, especially after spending so much money on becoming schooled. (I dropped out of the Classics Programme at Concordia U, Montreal, so I qualify as seriously ignorant, and why, presumably, have no answers, why I appeal to you, reader, for commentary here or at my Facebook page.)

Everything in the museum is so sanctimonious: the guardians, custodians, standing around like altarboys and girls; the distance from the artwork itself that must be respectfully kept, the lighting, and there is even a scent to museums, but it is in our own animal behaviour, comportamento, as we approach and entry into the museum: we gape, we gaze, we hold our breath in anticipation of wonder and imminent revelation, describe sidelong glances to our mates, eyebrows arched, at being impressed, confused, understanding, bewildered.

Hands clasped at our backs,or arms folded, or grappling with the museum guide, the Bible, the alms book of daily prayer, we shuffle along from painting to sculpture to installation to paper works and artists books,in and out of rooms, and onto the next, until we emerge from the museum, purged of our own insignificance, enriched and empowered, members of a sect, a religion, a faith that sets us apart from those who do not go to exhibitions, do not go to  the opera, do not read Literature and History.

You stand apart from the hordes. Entrenched behind books, culture, art,  knowledge, sensibilities or sensitivities, Kultur, you believe you are safe from the boor who will deride the art that has so touched and moved you you cannot sleep.

When the huddled mass of ignorance, sweat and intellectual hogwash and stink laughs out loud to say: it’s bullshit!, you cringe, turn away, sneer, distance yourself as fast as it is discretely possible to do so without being noticed  because you know you don’t have a chance against the horde, or the crazed boor who insists Rothko is a fake.

“Okay, I got the two-tone bleak on bleak the first time, the second time, but a whole career spent painting the same painting is, yes, frankly beyond me, and b-o-r-i-n-g. And reading the  explanatory notes too hilarious. I mean, what are these guys on to write all that bullshit on a white hole of nothingness.”

(Better not mention the  white-on-whites by deKoonig, or the boor will never stop barking  like a hyena.)

To be honest, I wasn’t impressed by Kiefer’s pile of lead sheets, either; I had the same – no – similar pile when I tore out my bathroom last month, but context is vital, critiques and critics, too,  and an alchemical combination of good fortune, time, place, people, confidence, bravado, vision, arrogance, and talents.

Evidently, I lack most, if not all, of the above. And I probably abound in ignorance. I do what I do, paint, in the safety of my own grounds, oblivious to much, and ignored by all, grateful to the Muses and McFate for granting me this space and time to create, bring to fruition the odd mixture of components and elements of which I am composed.

It’s what I know, in short; that, and museums are full of gorgeous women and openings are great places for starting a conversation with smart, bright ladies.

Redhead at National Gallery

Redhead at National Gallery, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

P.S. You were dressed as above, with black-framed glasses, at the National Gallery, 11-19 November; me, Mr Miserable, bearded, thunderstruck:

In she walked

tight white shirt

grey skirt to the knees

bare legged

black stiletto heels

and glasses

red hair and a chignon

whitest skin

most perfect complexion

and a Mona Lisa smile

across the floor

in a long bare-legged stride

she walked to gaze

at a Renaissance nude

that she was

in the mirror.

P.S.S. The Abstracts in this post were produced before my trip to London, while the paintings were made on my return just days ago; the former were, however, side trips, excursions from what might be considered my style, ie Figurative Narrations, while the Others herein posted were painted on my return, the first being Down at the Disco at Midnight.

Now the next question is: what are the effects of going to galleries and museums on one’s own work? What is your experience?

Looking forward to your comments and replies.

Last Rebel, Inc.

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Last Rebel, Inc. ,Luigi Monteferrante, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm.

Last Rebel, Inc. ,Luigi Monteferrante, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm.

In my previous life as a poet, I wrote a poem entitled Heroes, the narrator asking where had they gone to, the punks, mods, hippies, rockers, disco dolls. And the like. The poem I transformed to song and it was improved because during the recording I improvised and ad-libbed a few rather inspired lines. The tone, or timbre, were also perfect – a denigrating sneer. My acoustic guitar-playing capacity amounted to nil, but the overall performance was satisfactory.

As for the painting,  we face this Colossus of a building, a Leviathan of a Corporation, and the man depicted has paused before reaching the large dark entrance door; whatever his choice, Last Rebel is the Corporation, the Brand, the Lifestyle. For one, rebellion has long been comodified: from rock & rock to rap, the money is in the merchandise, the collective experience, not the music. Secondly, the true rebels founded the company, laid the foundations to create the colossus, the monster’s appetite allayed by greed: more cash, larger market share, buying out or crushing competitors, the stuff of daily financial headlines.

Their stock in trade is rebellion against the status quo. Were everything fine and good, nothing would ever be improved, invented, changed. We take things for granted, are averse to change, enjoy our routines, are pleased to sit quietly after a day’s work watching TV, or reading a bestselling book, but these rebels, these upstart entrepreneurs don’t sit still. Not one second.  They are dreaming,  scheming, schmoozing,   toying with ideas, gizmos, conventional thinking so as to find a way to get you to dig into your pockets to buy that product or service which you don’t really need.

Open your cupboards – full. Closet? Packed. Desk? Cluttered with PCs, pen drives, flash cards, DVDs – remember those? And we won’t even go into the garage or attic where we have boxes and crates of video and audio cassettes, old skis, skates, roller blades, city bikes and mountain bikes, and a whole lot more.

Quite frankly, I have been fooled into buying stuff I don’t need, but I can safely say I have a lot less junk than most people. And I will include books too, just to assure you I won’t distinguish between high and low culture, hi- and lo-tech.

Last Rebel is making itself richer, me poorer, and the more we buy, the higher they rise in social status, the greater their economic power, while ours diminishes day after day. Pardon me – mine does.  And plenty of people, too.

We conform. We settle down. We don’t want to change. Change might mean disaster. But the Colossus grows ever-more powerful, its scope wider, broader, deeper, and it governs. It governs, and we are governed, pleased with feeding in crumbs, and left alone on the Sabbath.

But all this is fine and good. We can choose and we can decide. We are responsible, sentient beings with a capacity for thought and foresight. We regularly make investments with our limited resources in time, energy, affections, cash.

Long ago, wanting to be a writer, a poet, I chose to cut back.  I needed time, a lot of time to write a novel, plays, poems, and I could not afford regular job; granted, I taught for over 25 years, but not usually on a full-time basis, leaving me plenty of time to writing.

Of course this meant less money, but there were increasingly less things I wanted to buy or do: going to bars, ristos, movies, for starters. Walking, running, swimming, cycling are free. As is talking, but outside a tiny circle of friends and relatives, this past year, since reneging The Word, writing, and turnedbinward upon myself, imploded and started to paint, I speak to very few people. Though married, sometimes it feels like I open my mouth only to eat, sip tea, answer direct questions, fail to respond to a phone ringing.  It can wait.

I  work quietly at home listening to a radio I bought 27 years ago, using wood panels that are far cheaper than canvas.I re-read books, mostly thick classics from Ancient, English, Russian and French Literature, and walk to wherever it is I have to go when, of course, I do have to go anywhere outside the house past the gate. And in emergencies, I do have a large motorcycle.

The Last Rebel, like Government, Bureaucrac tax and bill collectors are at the door, on the phone, in bulletins, emails,  ubiquitous. I stand, ineffectual brush at the ready against intruders: strangers who come calling because they want something from you.

And I say: Sorry, not interested, and turn away from the Last Rebels.

Unless… unless….hey, wanna buy a painting?

ln the end, success is an act of rebellion, success in your own terms, large or small, known or unknown. When the painting is right, you feel it, you know. And little else matters.

And a propos of paintings, the little man depicted owns the building.

16 Chapel Rd, II, or Style is repetition, Art imitation, and David is just rock.

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16 Chapel Rd, Suite II, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96, Luigi Monteferrante

16 Chapel Rd, Suite II, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96, Luigi Monteferrante

When does repetition become personal style, a clearly defined, easily recognizable signature piece in art, music,  literature?

Michelangelo, and lesser artists, are easily found out even by the layman; so, too, Bach, or Shakespeare, or a David Hockney.

And so, we have another 16 Chapel Rd, but we are in Suite II, what might have been Helter Skelter at the Babylon, a collection, or album of people summoned to perform and act their fates before a live audience: you.

Much can be said,  but won’t.  The style is reminiscent of other paintings, indeed may be very similar to one in particular, but then again, you’ve seen one Cubist painting, Abstract Expressionist, Post-TransAvanguardia, Arte Povera, or whatever your choice, you’ve seen them all, right?

And Romeo & Juliet is just another boy meets girl story that ends badly, or well, if you like tearjerkers; it employs words, has a whole bunch of people in leotards and lace running around gasping, swordfighting, cursing, falling in love, sighing and dying, not necessarily in that order.

So, too, Michelangelo’s David, a well-built young stud standing naked – plenty of those around, I suppose,  not necessarily naked, but that’s what imagination is for, no?

And the reason for Art.

In a world without art or artists, and as important, humankind’s sensibility to beauty and aesthetic experience, Michelangelo’s David is just that: a stud in marble, a dude in stone, a block of marble.

There is more beyond the familiar substance, subject, theme and matter,  and because the world is a stage, and there’s nothing new under the sun, and you can’t step in the same river twice, if you look closely, if you live closely, feel intensely, think deeply, there is an infinity to witness, experience, discover as there is when you look at that same old person you love’s face really closely.

Hm, do I really know you?

(And Juliet, or the Lady of Shylock, oops, Shalot,  waving: it’s me,  it’s me.)

And time has passed, your eyes have begun to fail you, so you step closer, smell, sense,  touch that new, live, richly inexplorable sentient being, and marvel at infinitude.

So, too, my 16 Chapel Rd.

(To name the first that comes to mind, naturalmente, and not to be immodest.)

But to conclude, nota bene, my next will be different.

Wait and see.

And then I am off to London for a week.

The Oracle

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The Oracle,  Luigi Monteferrante, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood, 2014.

The Oracle, Luigi Monteferrante, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood, 2014.

Art is a quest.Life is a quest.  Getting out of bed is a quest. You have got to have a reason. Be it a salary, a career, a class to attend or teach, pride, ambition, and/or a host of abstract and damn practical motives, you do things for a mixture of pragmatic, ideological, faith-based considerations – work vs slacker ethic, etc.

Deep inside, some of us feel as if we have experienced a Visitation, a Calling, a Vocation.

The rough business at hand is for you to sort, clients to please, customers to satisfy, the opposition to appease or quell, relations to provide for – an endless list of chores dealing with persons and things which require intervention: yours, ours, mine.

Nothing comes from nothing.

Armed with self-belief, a faith in self,  I am impelled to paint, trans-substantiate ideas, visions, dreams, a voice to form; alas, two-dimensional, but even in my sculptures of stone and driftwood, the third dimensions lacks the fourth and vital dimension: time.

It is in time, that we play out the scheme the Oracle has whispered to us, to me, an oracle I could easily choose to ignore – go to the cinema, read a book, meet with friends, real or otherwise; instead, the Oracle is by your side, whispers  in your heart, holds a flame to your brackish mind, pushes you on, indeed wakes you in the middle of the night, or day, drags you from slumber, and you are compelled to create, draw, start painting before it is too late, before you rise no more, your duty forsaken, your calling ignored, the Oracle, here an fair attractive woman, transformed into a screaming Harpie, or a Medusa, but instead of your turning instantly into stone, she kindles you back to blood, bone and gut to torture you the more, holding the mirror to your face with you, and nobody else but you, to blame, to blame, to crucify.

Expectations, or The Comedy of King Hamlet

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Expectations, Luigi Monteferrante, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood, 2014.

Expectations, Luigi Monteferrante, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood, 2014.

Expectations? We have them. We might choose to feign harboring none, the cynic, the disaffected, the moody melancholic, and those too cowardly to raise that castle in the air, erect, build and establish their dreams and expectations.  Large or small, bright or gloomy, morning dawns with expectations. And expectations don’t sleep; they lie in wake.

In this painting, time was short, and there was an abundance of energy, an overflow that sundered the restraints of time, and carried over from Expectations to Oracle, the next painting.

In Expectations,  set in post-Classical darkness, the woman on the left is expecting a child, her future pregnant with aspirations, certainties – an heir – the warmth, love, fears and vicissitudes of motherhood.

The man,  a warrior, knight, nobleman – he is handsome, young, clutches a stiletto at his belt – gazes forward, not far in time or space, but at the present.  Guarded, cool, unsmiling, bared of faith, but his own self-confidence, and strength. Master of his Castle.

To his left, a woman, disproportionately large, attractive; prophecy, distraction, or more earthly: a mistress, a mother?

It reminds me of Hamlet, not the tragedy, but what was a tentative title: The Comedy of Hamlet, King of Denmark. Comedy because it ends happily. He kills nobody, marries Ophelia, currently expecting a child, and Gertrude is at peace, Uncle having died of old age. Or perhaps attacked and killed by a pack of boars. And in any case, Gertie resigned to playing off-center stage, with Hamlet and the Mrs clearly in command.

But all is not well in the Danish realm. Ophelia will bear triplets: envy, jealousy and violence.

And the skies grow dark with bloody expectations.

Purgatorio

art, artist, contemporary artist, gallery, Luigi Monteferrante
Luigi Monteferrante in Caravaggio mode.

Luigi Monteferrante in Caravaggio mode.

One day, one day without painting, was hell – no, but purgatorio, si.

Yesterday, work on the house had me assisting the bricklayer and plumber, and so I was on call for errands, cleaning, and moving furniture back and forth. Nothing heavy, nor tiring, and with small talk, the morning passed by easily enough.

By afternoon, however, the realization that I had nothing in mind, body, or spirit regarding my next painting had me feeling wretched, my mind not a blank, which conjures a clean, fresh, bright page, canvas or screen; instead, a thick, turgid, muddy green/grey swamp dully bubbling at an ever-decreasing rate and temperature.

My body, too, began to creak, my muscles   growing taut, my spirit sluggish, dull, a smoky fog as heavy as a lead mantle.

The day’s work done, I walked into the night by the sea, head slung low, the only rumblings the crash of waves ashore. So, too, dinner and after, a quiet evening of dull despair and emptiness failed to bring deliverance.

I woke up at 3:09, ready to plug my ears with a BBC podcast when suddenly a vision.

A vision.

That is: two consecutive, successive visions.

Clear, perfect, two bodies of work delivered bedside.

La notte porta giudizio, says an Italian proverb, night brings wisdom.

And something more. Levitation. And the exit sign out of Limbo.