The Signature of the Sun
Carlos Gallery, The University of the South: Sewanee
In mid-summer, my love and I carefully drove through The Tail of the Dragon, a road that whips
and snakes through the Smoky Mountains. It roars with the sounds of motorcycles and burns
furiously through patches of sunlight. The paintings start here. Like haze rising from asphalt, thin
washy marks unfurl like tendrils of smoke. The shapes skate over the mantle of a fiery mountain
form. Deep dark tones cool and temper the hot frenetic marks like soft wetl evenings.
The hot agitated drive brought my love and I to a river bathed in light with stones lazily warmed
over the course of the month of June. The massive rocks were rounded by time and rose out of
the water like soft bellies covered in moss. Marks trip and hop through color fields and echo
staccato actions like moving from boulder to boulder. Wet feet meeting warm ground with a
satisfying smack each time. I bound through the layers of color with active ears, listening in for
the shape of a current.
The shape language of the paintings are rounded and worn. Time moves unevenly when an oily
liquid turns solid. I make heavy forms by smoothing hard edges and they become slippery. The
shapes, colors, and marks pool at the corners of each canvas leaving open space for warm or
cool tones to collect and disperse as each new layer is applied.I am trying to skate over stones
and reeds in a shallow canvas and the clock is always on my side. The current has somewhere
to go and I juice up the paint to make sure it moves smoothly in between jagged edges and
punchy bands of color.
My love moves against the current, skirting the edge of the river. He picks up rocks with
magpie-like intensity.Every few minutes, he returns and deposits another river quarts or skipping
stones in a long line along.
The sun was moving. I configured the rocks into a circle with one in the center just so. I felt the
perspiring rocks and the heat of the stone below. Not a single lick of fire or tail whip
to be found. Everything was round, my body, the stones, his eyes, and my feelings.
My rock circle was a sundial. Time was told through the long fingers of shadows cast by trees
on the riverbank. The heat lamp sun chilled on our skin as it dipped lower in the sky. Sunset
over water looks like a warm rock being flooded by high tide. I asked my love if he was going to
take all of the rocks back home. He examined each one and replied simply that we had to leave
some for the river. The sundial was taken apart, love went home with the leaf patterned center
time teller, most worn by years in the current, in his pocket.