Art Explained: Ghost Flower

Ghost Flower 2019 24 x 20 in. ( 60.96 x 50.8 cm) Acrylic and oil on linen, framed

The painting was colorful, radiating in green foliage and vibrant red and pink flowers. The light blue background was submissive enough to isolate the liveliness of the blooms and the painterly yellow ground. In efforts to enhance its soft entry into existence, it was being sold at a decorative shop without any pomp, festivity or glamour. A year later it was pulled off of the wall, and rode in the back seat of a truck in silence, muted by what it knew was a reversal of its path. It was supposed to be held by the proud hands of its beaming new owner, installed with a gold nail on a beautiful wall or graciously placed on a tall strong mantle, never to return to the same art studio. The piece had something to say, but its engagement didn’t happen, its relevance didn’t exist and its sounds were not heard. As we rode back that late afternoon, it was unable to understand what was happening and in its own isolated confusion and solace, somewhere in another dimension where humans cannot see, its bright red flowers withered, its leaves fell and it stopped breathing.

When a painting dies, an artist knows it.

Such was its first life, and no amount of preparation could have changed its existence. In early January of this year, there appeared a tiny illuminating gesture from within the painting, no words, no physicality just an ephemeral automatic non visual signal. I questioned its validity, wondering if the signal was a subliminal spasm or some sort of electrochemical twitch, but I couldn’t dismiss the recurring and intuitive feeling that these were instructions on its reincarnation, its second life. After days of thinking, participating in its redemption became an absolute. Paper wrapped the wood frame, secured by tape tucked into the space between the linen. Upright on a wall, gentle brushstrokes glazed the linen with warm layers of white. This was a genesis, not pulling wet oil paint to create a technical diffusion. The color of its complexion changed and the entire creation lasted a few hours. A gossamer veil now overlaps the entire four hundred and eighty square inches of linen. With a final tap of the brush I stopped and listened but there was no sound, yet the soft yellow ground moves with the gentle shadows of the blooms above. It was now sublime and alive in another form. Its vaporous presence speaks softly and in an almost undetectable way. If you look carefully, it will absorb you and will claim your silence so it can teach you a language no ones ever heard.

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