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Posts Tagged ‘Leaves of Grass’

 

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I too am not a bit tamed,

I too am untranslatable,

I sound my barbaric yawp

over the roofs of the world.

 

-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

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This new painting,a 24″ by 30″ canvas that is part of my upcoming show at the West End Gallery, is titled My Brisant Bellow. The term brisant bellow is one I have used in the past, my equivalent to Whitman’s barbaric yawp which comes from his Song of Myself in Leaves of Grass.

It is included in the four lines above that have been a guiding beacon for me throughout the past 25 years as I have tried to be an artist. These words instructed me to be only myself, to openly and boldly express my feelings without fear or shame. To not hide my scars, my fears or my weaknesses because they are part of my wholeness and keep me in balance. To not be underestimated or devalued by myself or anyone else. To claim a foothold in this world and bellow out the proof of my existence in my own voice:

Here I am.

There are paintings that I do that are meant to represent this thought, paintings that are meant to be plainly expressions of that Here I am. I consider them icons in my body of work, pieces that fully represent my work and what I want from it. This painting definitely falls in that category. It’s simply put but not a simple expression.

When I look at this painting I personally see myself and all my hopes and aspirations, all that I am or desire to be.

What I hope for this painting is that someone else sees that same here I am in it for themselves, that they see in it those things that make them a whole and perfectly imperfect person with a place in this world and a voice that demands to be heard.

Is that asking too much?

 

 

 

 

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 Well, it’s here:  the final weekend before the Presidential election on Tuesday. I wait, like many, with a mix of eagerness to move ahead in a new direction and with the fear of having hopes crushed.  There’s a feeling that this may be a pivotal moment in our history, that this may be a decision that may indeed, unlike other such elections, affect our day to day lives for years to come.  It’s at times like this that I always come back to the words of Uncle Walt.

Walt Whitman was shaped and defined by his Americanism and the turbulent time in which he lived.  He spoke to the highest ideals that our nation embodies.  His words ring with a universal truth that seem as fresh today as they were over a century ago.  

This is a small bit from Song of Myself  from Leaves of Grass.  When I first read this (so many years ago) it resonated in my mind.  As I evolved into a painter I carried the sense of these few words with me and often when I look at some of my work, I can see those words in the work.  

 

 I too am not a bit tamed,

I too am untranslatable,

   I sound my barbaric yawp

     over the roofs of the world.

 

As always, thanks, Uncle Walt.

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