"Like I say, painting is just the most mysterious thing in the whole world."
--Kyle Staver, "Gorky's Granddaughter"
I've gotten into the bizarre habit of falling madly in love with different artists on a regular basis, sometimes going as far as writing them long, emotional, heartfelt letters of adoration, or at the very least (in this case), scribbling a poem in my diary.
Waking up at three a.m. recently, in just such a state of feverish artistic infatuation, I discovered the artist Kyle Staver on the internet. I fell under the enchantment of her mythological scenes: gods, satyrs, nymphs, and magical animals, playing out their archetypal roles from ancient stories, in a created world of intoxicating dark blue skies, shot with slender, cold, brilliant strips of moonlight.
A Love Poem for Kyle Staver (by Lauren Kindle)
If midnight has a door
it opens onto this:
a warm night,
a moonlit wing
Among the many stunning paintings on Staver's website, I feel especially drawn to Leda. It's a lush, sexy, dreamy depiction of a story from Greek mythology. In this story, the god Zeus changes himself into a swan in order to seduce the mortal woman, Leda.
Kyle Staver's painting, Leda, recalls to mind a poem, "Leda and the Swan," by Yeats (1865-1935). This racy poem thrilled me as a teenager, and, if I'm honest, it still has a hold on me. I hope that it resonates with you, as well, and enriches your experience of viewing the art.
Leda and the Swan
by William Butler Yeats
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?