Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cosmic Laundry

Cosmic Laundry, 2010, gouache on paper on board

What can be more familiar than having your laundry commingle? I can eat with a stranger at a communal table, I can sit next to a stranger on public transportation, but having my dirty clothes washed with another's dirty clothes implies some kind of a familiarity, intimacy, and friendship.

This is the 6th piece of my collaboration with Artist X. And although she has given me permission to use her name, I rather like the sound of Artist X. You can go to my website though, and see her name, right there in black & white.

I'm responding to her piece in which she had painted two faces. Two faces that can be interpreted either as merging into one, or that one is obscuring the other. The first thought that came to my mind was the Rumi poem—

I, you, she, we.
In the garden of mystic lovers
these are not true distinctions.

There are various translations of this poem, mostly in the first line—some versions go on quite extensively listing all pronouns.

I wanted to follow the composition of Artist X's piece, and here's how it started. You can see the two faces. This is a fairly faithful copy of her composition in terms of locations of features.

From there, I went on to a garden-like space in the clouds. But this failed to get across what I had in mind, which was something that implied the intimacy of “these are not true distinctions”, which then brought us to cosmic laundry.

Although there are details in the finished painting that aren't showing up in the image (there are lots of 'stitching' and 'patches' in the laundry on the line), I actually think this is kind of an ugly painting. But I'm fine with that.

What is rather scary though, is how similar this painting is to Trip, which is documented here. The same curvy line down the middle; the two panels of fabric attached at a single point; the way the space is divided up into clouds and landscape, although the two are reversed; the similar plant shape, although the plant shape in Trip was definitely meant as 'wheat'—both a symbol of the wheat-growing west and a symbol of prosperity and abundance—and the plant shape here was more dictated by following the shapes of lips.

The scary part was that I thought I was trying something different, but turns out, not.


Luxury Bedding said...
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Fine Linens said...
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Catherine Alice said...

Wow Shu-Ju, I really love this laundry painting. Very beauitful.