Thursday, August 26, 2021

"But close, the painting knows him" (Roy McFarlane); "step inside a Rothko painting" (Nina Mingya Powles)

Last week, I wrote about how we can know works of art without experiencing them directly. Since then, I read a poem by Roy McFarlane, "No woman, no cry", which is "after the painting by Chris Ofili" and complicates my point by reversing it: "He knows the painting from articles and downloads, he knows the painting from a distance but close, the painting knows him [...]". The work can only "know" us when we experience it – a point also made more obliquely in a poem by Nina Mingya Powles, "Colour fragments", who wants to "step inside a Rothko painting", because "[i]f you stare long enough it seems to get bigger [...]." (Andrew Shields, #111words, 26 August 2021)


Chris Ofili, "No Woman, No Cry"

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