I am in the process of redecorating the other side of my house, my duplex-in-the-woods. I am making a plan, coordinating colors (sort of) and removing things that may not be suitable for the random summer tenant. For a long time that side was the dumping place for stuff I couldn’t think of what to do with. There are some old filing cabinets, books on economics that belonged to my mother, a redundancy of corkscrews, a bulky old television set, a 50 year old radio with the tuning stuck on a station that plays loud rock and roll. And, of course, the furniture that I didn’t want in my side.
The most difficult item to remove was a large (over 7 feet long and over 3 feet high) picture. It hung in the larger of the 2 bedrooms of the apartment because that was a place with a long enough wall. It is a heavy picture and it took 2 men to hang it, and thus took 2 men to move it.
Some people find the subject matter of the picture disturbing. One summer I had a tenant who found it so objectionable that she asked me to cover it with a drape.
It consists of 3 individual monotypes hung together to make a single image. It was done by one of my teachers in art school. I first saw it in an exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The artist was at that time a young, pretty woman, a fine teacher, an exceptional artist, and something of a feminist. Nevertheless, she was married and had a very cute little girl called Emma. The artist, Cheryl Burgess, must now be middle aged, and Emma must be grown up.
The title of the picture is “His Kiss” and is one of a group of works that Cheryl referred to as her “beast” series. The image consists of 2 figures. There is a supine, insipidly lime-green submissive female figure being mounted by a huge hairy red and black male beast-like creature that is kissing her neck and tweaking her in other places.
Here’s the picture. It was difficult to photograph because it was hung so high up. That’s the reason for the distorted shape of the frame.
When our friend Hans was here to clean the gutters I asked him to help Jerry move the picture to our side of the duplex, where it now hangs on the east wall of the dining room. This is by far the biggest expanse of wall on either side. The wall extends up to the second story loft, and the picture is hung over 2 windows. Thus, it is overhead and well above eye level.
Through the windows is a view of the woods and through the woods in the morning one can see the sun rise over Mt. Baker.
Hans is the husband of an artist, and has opinions about art. He nodded approval and said he liked it. Though Jerry had never expressed an opinion, I was pretty sure he didn’t care much for it; but when it was hung in the dining room and we all stood back I read his face (as I have learned to do.) I saw a glimmer of approval.
I thought it looked terrific.
It needed the distance of the big dining room-kitchen for one to appreciate its artistic merits.
The next test will be tomorrow night. Eight people, good island friends, are coming for dinner. Jerry said, “Let’s see how long it takes them to notice.”
I’ll let you know.