Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Christina's Chair

PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY: Reflections While Shooting at Olson House, Part 8: Wyeth had painted Christina by the geranium window at other times as well, most famously in "Geraniums" (1960). It could almost be the same scene as "Woodstoves" but from another angle. It's worth noting that in moving from one painting to the other, Christina has shifted in her chair as if dodging our gaze; as we try to look in, she turns away.

In "Geraniums," Wyeth peers in through that north kitchen window. What do we find when we look there now? What part of Christina remains?

ANDREW WYETH (on "Geraniums"): One of the most important of the Christina Olson series. I like the way you can see the red of the flowers, through the house, and out the window on the other side, then out to sea. The black thing, by the way, in the opposite window is a black-and-orange work glove her brother, Alvaro, put there. Christina barely seen - just that flash of her striped shirt. She was like a scarecrow when she wasn't rooted in that chair - just bits of tattered rags and hair all askew. What interested me is that she'd come in at odd places, odd times. The great English painter John Constable used to say that you never have to add life to a scene, for if you quietly sit and wait, life will come - sort of an accident in the right spot. That happens to me all the time - happened lots with Christina. The whole point of this picture, which is very abstract, is how you look through the windows and how that brilliant point of color in the geraniums catches light from the other side of the house.

TILLMAN CRANE: "Spiritual presence for some reveals itself in the natural landscape, untouched by humanity. For me, the divine reveals itself in those places where people have lived and worked. My spine literally tingles with excitement when I find a location that resonates with the historic presence of others."


Virtual Voyage said...

What an opportunity, Ted. Thanks for the links - I wasn't familiar with these works.

Ted Roth said...

Thanks for stopping by.