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Composition in Black and Orange (Mexican Hat)

We give this canvas any depth it has.
Sure, there are guidelines, hints of shadow
and tint that say "Add innerness here"
or "Put nearness here",

but it's up to us to follow the guidelines,
puffing up flatness with depth
as a child fills outlines in a coloring book
with crayon color.

Even the silver pitcher disappearing at left
can't create its mirror mockery of space
by itself. We create, too,
the mass of the squash,
the green apple's clunky heft,
balance and moist catchy sleekness
against wooden bread board;

we are in charge of depth, solidity and texture
here. It is only the overwhelming detail
of the guidelines that makes us forget
it is we who put the depth into "real" depth.

If we forget to create space,
we feel trapped beneath the stars,
all "space" closing in on us.

This painting's use of the stark minimum
of clues gently nudges memory.
I look away from its exercise
in slope-away and plunge-near and hold-

to find the room around my body
honeycombed with places to be and view from,
infinitely penetrable,
full of beingness
that I can be.

Dean Blehert

Last Updated: October 6, 2002

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