joy magnetism: The Cycle of life

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Cycle of life

Magnet#489 - Escher Cycle

This is one of the magnets I bought from the Pomegranate folks at BEA, who licensed it from M.C. Escher's his lithograph called Cycle.

I know next to nothing about M.C. Escher, and it's kind of a shame, but my earliest memory of his work was seeing them as dorm posters on sale at the stationery store on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. But from what I gather, he's known for his lithographs and woodcuts and mezzotints - mostly mathematically inspired. Well, that's my problem right there - math does *not* equal joy. Heh.

Apparently, he's also known for his work being impossible constructions, with wonderful architectural explorations in planes and infinity. Supercool - I suppose one could spend hours just looking into one of his works. Oddly, I wondered why I hadn't seen his work in any galleries, so I looked up where his work is, and it seems to be spread around the world - the Escher Museum in The Hague, National Galleries in DC and Ottawa, Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Huis ten Bosch in Nagasaki, and the Boston Public Library. Looks like he's my next artist exploration in DC. Heh.

I particularly like this Cycle piece because it closely matches my mood of late. When I was young, people used to talk about the rat race, and I had this image in my head of people all over the world (on different time tables), waking up, leaving their houses, getting into their modes of transit, working their jobs, coming home, going to sleep, and starting all over again - en masse, like little drones. And nothing ever got accomplished, really, no real goal except to clock the most mileage on our little human bodies.

I just realized that this image closely resembles my vision - the little guy leaves his house at the top of the stairs, and as he descends, he slowly loses his individuality, and joins the dozens of carbon copies of the 2-dimensional figures at the bottom, with his house behind him, and the real (3-dimensional) world of nature behind his house at the top of the magnet.

Well, that's quite maudlin, no? What can I say - it's hard to live up to my name some days. So, here's a happier thought to end this magnetpost:

This work is called Cycle, I suppose, for a reason. So imagine...this little guy in this painting does get to go back up the stairs every day, back to his home and family and become a 3-dimensional guy again...and I bet, every once in a while, he even leaves his house from the other side, and gets to go frolic and play in the hill and dale behind his house.

Yes. I said frolic and play.

And hill and dale.

That's kinda happy-making, no?
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