Response to Arundel

"A force is only visible in its effect, and it is the split second in which this effect becomes just barely visible that haunts me.  The turns of life are secret."

-- Anne Truitt in Daybook, on her Arundel series 

 Here is a view of the sculptures on display in the  National Gallery of Art , a special  Anne Truitt  exhibition called  "In the Tower."   On the far wall you can see the Arundel painting, but it's difficult to appreciate how  large  it is (73.5x73.5"!) and it's impossible to really experience the intensity of the painting from a photo, without being in front of it in person.  In this blog post I have attempted to convey my encounter using words.

Here is a view of the sculptures on display in the National Gallery of Art, a special Anne Truitt exhibition called "In the Tower."  On the far wall you can see the Arundel painting, but it's difficult to appreciate how large it is (73.5x73.5"!) and it's impossible to really experience the intensity of the painting from a photo, without being in front of it in person.  In this blog post I have attempted to convey my encounter using words.

 Arundel XI 73.5x73.5" graphite and acrylic paint on canvas

Arundel XI 73.5x73.5" graphite and acrylic paint on canvas

Looking at the large white Arundel painting, I felt emotional.  How could she make something so large and so exposed?  The whiteness struck me as a raw vulnerability.  It was a large canvas, large enough for me to lose myself in, physically.  At first it seemed entirely white.  Standing quietly before it, I could slowly perceive a slender column of barely differentiated white, slightly lighter, on the left, with a pale graphite vertical line encased within it.  So subtle, without artifice, without "showiness."  I wondered at her strength. 

Do we have the right to reveal ourselves like this?  Do we have the right to take up this much space?

And yet it was humble, almost ephemeral, a tender touching-of-light, a "oneness" with something vast, something not for sale, something beyond description, classification, and ego.

It appeals to no one.  She appeals to no one.  She does not please, excite, seduce, or entertain.  She is not "pretty."  She just opens herself to us.  "Here I am," she says.

And it's a mirror.  I look within, and I tremble.

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