Eighth

Acrylic dispersion and gold leaf on recycled polymer canvas, 32 x 40 inches.
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And how bewildered is any womb-born creature
that has to fly. As if terrified and fleeing
from itself, it zigzags through the air, the way
a crack runs through a teacup. So the bat
quivers across the porcelain of evening.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, “The Eighth Elegy”, Duino Elegies (translated by Stephen Mitchell)

This cerulean blue, cobalt blue, white, and gold painting is titled Eighth. Part of the inspiration came from the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, or “golden joinery”. Kintsugi is the art of glueing broken ceramics back together using gilded lacquer to highlight rather than hide the repair. In this painting there are touches of gilding that run along several jagged lines, which echo the cracks in a a teacup that might be repaired in this manner. And that was enough to remind me of Rilke’s eighth Duino Elegy, which brought me to the title.

This painting was featured at the 2014 Mennonite Arts Weekend and as part of the 2016 Enchanted Forest display at Bergdorf Goodman in New York.

In case you’d like to see what Kintsugi looks like, I’ve collected some nice images on this Pinterest Board: Kintsugi