I was reading the new issue of Hi-Fructose (vol. 18) over the weekend, specifically I was reading the interview with Ray Caesar and was shaken by the intense, deeply honest things that he said. Things about both his life (which hasn’t been anything remotely resembling a picnic*) and about his work.“Think of my pictures as a sanctuary where one can take out a small piece of pain and allow it to be free.” Giving this interview in such a truthful way is the act of a very courageous person. Kudos, Ray!
One of the more poignant practices that Ray incorporates into his work are hidden images or objects. Actually, literally hidden, as in tucked away in a box or a drawer. For those of you who aren’t familiar with his stunning images; Ray works in 3-D software, creating the components of his paintings in a virtual world. And he likes to hide things in that virtual world that are, technically speaking, not there in the final printed image.
This concealment of things in hidden spaces, now, several days after reading the interview reminded me of this book:
The Egyptian Jukebox by Nick Bantock.
This particular Bantock volume is about a museum cabinet of drawers configured as a jukebox. It has ten drawers each filled with objects and accompanied by a clue. The story of the jukebox and solving the contained riddle are quintessential Nick Bantock.
In a very real way we are all like a cabinet of drawers, the content and configuration of objects determined by who we are, what we have done. . . what we are going about doing.
I have often thought it would be lovely fun to make one of these museum cabinets or collectors boxes in an actual real world, hold-it-in-your-hands, be able to touch and contemplate it way. Choosing/creating each object for it’s texture, it’s color, it’s size; all to reflect the character for whom the box is being made.
There exists an entirely human fascination/dread of that which is hidden, that is concealed in layer within layer of drawers and boxes.
Is it delicate and beautiful?
Does it ooze?
Will it bite?
I seldom do delicate but I have done a certain amount of beauty.
I’ll leave the oozing to others (at least for the moment).
I make no promises whatever about biting.
*Not the sort of picnic that anyone (outside of a horror film) would actually even think wanting to attend.
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