Limit Them Not

Start with nothing...and every image that ever swept across the screen of eyes and mind. The format...neutral and not-so-neutral...blankness...not emptiness. With exact arbitrary dimensions...rationalized by the extent of peripheral vision, the mindscape and the sweep of recollection...attached to history by circuitous route of Lascaux to Arles to Broadway to here and now. Make the mark! Sound an alarm of form to be responded to with immediacy. An internal rectangle repeats the format...a reestablishment of the nothingness...but colored and explosively passive.

Marks shoot out and pass over...and fireworks...but silent...a hearing of color. Loud, strident...some muffled echoes. "They" are like saints. Hovering behind the shoulder and scrutinizing the palette...Goya, Rembrandt, a young De Kooning...all hearing the tales of the caves...and sharing wisdom and the unknowable. Abstraction of mind and of motion, movement, obliteration of mark and reestablishment of space. Consciousness yields to swimming in the sea of action...there is no sense of time...the temperature is body-neutral. A star falls, its cataclysmic racket only a murmur because of the vast distances...outside. Everything is here on one plane. There is no deep space. Yet there is. Flat. Infinity. Silent harmonies.

Color blends in surprise...differently with each stroke...done before not quite this way. Swim up toward the light of conscious self-critique. Gasp for breath. Laugh at the thought of being/having been somewhere that can't quite be accurately remembered. can hear, feel and experience the paint...tacking up before the next assault...wet to wet. It could have been completely different...maybe better...but, this is it...committed to this...this time only. There is a consistency of thought. There is an evolution of experience. There is a message of intentional ambiguity. There are symbols yanked from the syntax of painting and forms from observation. History is honored and revered. References to those who have gone before are religiously evident. Paint the litany! good faith. Reiterate the litany for inner peace. Paint!

Crosses:crux. Temple: Easel. Format begets format. Form begets form. Views of small (huge) space...looking through...looking inside. Right here and now we can see in many turning of the head. Straight on! Figures lurk in forms of hiding. Persons. Pylons hold. Vistas spread. Imagery of vision...presented as icon.

Assume every possibility. Limit them not.

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John S. Slorp
John Slorp served as president of Minneapolis College of Art and Design from 1990 to 2002: previously he served for eight years as president of Memphis College of Art. An artist by training, he has taught painting, calligraphy and computer design courses. He was a frequent speaker on art and the rigors and joys of the education of visual artists.