Artist on Artist: Leonard Brown on Chris Gaynor

Artist Leonard Brown contemplates Chris Gaynor’s new ink work Long distance call, metaphysically . . .

The point of intersection of the timeless
With time is an occupation for the saint –
No occupation either, but something given
And taken, in a lifetime’s death in love,
– T.S.Eliot

Eliot can’t remain silent, nor hold back in his admiration for the artist, the poet and other seekers whose quest leads them fearlessly into an exploration of the metaphysical. It’s no small detail, but is often passed over in the general drama, with the earthquake accompanying the Christos’s death on the cross, “and when Jesus had cried out in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from top to bottom, and the earth did quake, and rocks rent” – Matthew 27: 50, 51.

The word “behold” is the Greek word “idou.” Not an easy word for translators, for it carries intense feeling and emotion. The King James Version translates this word as “behold.” In our contemporary world, it might be better rendered, “Wow!”

Faced with a meditation on such ultimate things as Chris Gaynor’s Long distance call, the expression “Wow!” befitting of intense feeling and emotion, when and where all other descriptions fall short . . . floundering, calling on Eliot for illumination, “I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where. And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.”

Of some comfort, Coleridge’s saying, “Painting is the intermediate somewhat between a thought and a thing.” So, it’s not solely the enigmatic zone of the imagery in which I roam, but in an agreeable climate within the constitution of painting where boundaries are extended, evading domestication. Gaynor’s generosity is that of the universal artist – emphatically, he offers to take us with him, and politely I don’t ask, “what am I looking at, and where am I going?” All I do know is that I don’t wish to turn back. Nonetheless, in my human frailty not unlike Moses, I desire to ask the question, “who am I in conversation with.” I suspect the answer would be the same as given to Moses, “I Am the I Am, who Am.”

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