Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A corridor in the asylum

I have a page-a-day calendar on the table where I have breakfast, the pages are all pictures or items from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Today's picture is one I don't remember ever seeing at the museum, Van Gogh's "A Corridor in the Asylum". I looked at it as I had my blueberry bagel and coffee, it is a design that could be copied as a quilt [I've often thought of making various paintings into quilts but haven't done so and probably won't]. The painting is haunting in its emptiness with the one small man far down the corridor going into a room. One imagines inmates behind those doors sunk in depression, sitting or lying motionless, minds nearly blank with the weight of inchoate feeling, another bit of darkness entering their dulled thoughts.

Yet the artist is observing, he is in the hall although we do not see him, he is working rapidly on his canvas, creating a picture that has balance and perspective and softly melding colors -- very different from the vivid outdoor colors we often associate with him. What a lot to contemplate at 6:20 in the morning! Insulated in the ease of my life, these thoughts, which might be heavy and dour for someone else, give me a good start for the day. If I were going to make this a quilt, I would need to dye several pieces of fabric or to decide to change the feeling of the picture by using tone on tone commercial fabrics. The quilt would be built from the dark end of the corridor outward, opening toward the unseen painter -- doing such a project would be a satisfying experience. For me the contemplation will replace the actualizing. Life is so full of possibilities, some we just imagine and move on.

1 comment :

Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates said...

I never saw that painting in any art books either and I love his paintings. You just gave me an idea. I took a photo somewhat like that hallway that I might incorporate that into an art quilt like I did my trees I painted. I think I will locate it and put it in my blog.