Still life, figures, and Matisse

The Matisse show at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts takes a novel approach by displaying objects the artist collected along with some of the paintings they appear in. It’s fascinating.


Naturally, I especially enjoyed the textiles but even to see chairs, vases, and pewter coffee pots alongside the paintings they inspired was interesting.

I was shocked to discover, standing in front of the well-known ‘Purple Robe’ portrait below, that early on Matisse was ‘afraid he would never do figures’.

Lucky for us, at some point the artist figured out how to transfer the confidence he felt giving life to inanimate objects to the human figure.

With that and my unpopulated quilts in mind, take a look at the right margin of this slightly wonky tower I’ve been working on. Doesn’t that dark grain suggest a female form — staring up at a butterfly, perhaps? She reminds me of one of Grace’s drawings in its early phases. Mightn’t the nascent figure be saying something — Come on — stitch me into an empty structure! Let me enliven the yard or a room or even the attic!

Somehow this quiet and solitary day felt full. Almost too full.

Our morning walk was replete with scenes like these, peaceful and lush, but riddled with thoughts about aggression, primarily about the differences between aggression expressed from and for power and reactive aggression. They might appear alike from the outside but are worlds apart. Working with Finn has been a real lesson in this, inspiring me to quip from time to time, “Dog training’s taught me that I may be a mouthy bitch, but I’m no alpha.”

Sad, but true. Finn had a set-to right before this yard. Bark, bark, bark. My sister and I are having set-tos all the time, but this week they’re about re-configuring the distance between us. Bark, bark, bark. I can’t take it anymore. It’s amazing I’ve put up with it for this long. If she can’t accept my moving away some, I will vanish from her life. I’ve done it before. I was hoping not to do it again, but I am exhausted, tattered, and unwilling to continue at current decibel levels. Bark. Bark. Bark.

After what seems an impossibly long time without sun, out it came for our afternoon walk, so the day contained cheer, too!

img_4536
img_4552-2Lastly, the TV is all fucked up and you know what that means (wink, wink)! I may be forced to read for a spell here (and miss The Great British Baking Show?) or watch LIVE TV on the tiny shit box in the kitchen. Boo-hoo. Then again, the house is filled with good books waiting to be read.

5 thoughts on “Still life, figures, and Matisse

  1. Michelle in NYC

    Love Matisse and your photos are fine, what glorious weather at last, and all that painful bark barking fades into the everything else. Your descriptions are masterful if not your dog training skills. Everyone gets some specialties and you’ve got more than a few :–>

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      It was a glorious afternoon. Hope it was in NYC, too. I’m still waiting for the barking to fade.

      Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      I like the flat, graphic quality of some of his paintings and the preoccupation with patterning (no surprise, there!), but your comment makes me want to know: what painters do you get? what painters inspire you?

      Reply
      1. Mo Crow

        off the top of my head… living Australian artists ex De Medici, John Wolseley (he’s English but has lived in Australia for many years), Peter Godwin, Reg Mombassa aka Chris O’Doherty (he’s from New Zealand but has lived here a long time too) & Cressida Campbell, and then of course the masters like Paul Klee, Salvador Dali, Vincent Van Gogh, that American realist painter who painted the lace curtain blowing in the wind… an eclectic mix!

        Reply

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