Sunday, September 15, 2013

Museum: A Place to Be

"Museum" by Jim Carpenter, Acrylic on Paper, 11" x 11"

Painting #12 - Day #15,  The 30 in 30 Challenge - "Museum"

Originally "museum" meant "a seat or shrine of the Muses."  Today we think of it as the place where we go to see artifacts, ancient and modern, art and technology.  But I would like to go think more about museum as a shrine of the Muses.  What is a museum if not the dwelling place of items that exemplify what it means to be inspired.  In a museum, we can see how man has been inspired through the ages to make a mark in the world.  

The structure of this painting was in place all day long but the sense of it didn't occur until - out of discomfort with the coldness in the right side of the painting - I got out the Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold and warmed up the painting with it. It is astonishing how meaning can suddenly be made by layering in a pigment.  Now the figure leans against a wall covered in obscured messages, and seems to be observing the scene before him.

As I was working on the painting the white figure was always the main character. The painting is about him.  I assumed all along that he is alive and present and all of the other figures are not of the same reality.  But in a moment of honesty I admitted that he is stone-like.  Is it possible that he's a carved block of marble in a museum and all of the other figures are present and real? Is this what the Muses have in mind when an artist says, "I want to be in a museum someday"?   Perhaps.  

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