Tuesday, March 11, 2014


During the time that my  circle was being destroyed by AIDS,  I had a dream of a purgatorial
foundry. It consisted of a vast conveyor belt into the moulten center of the earth, into which  souls went
gladly, to be purified by the fire. This fire was not a hell of eternal torment, but a place of purification.
(The poem I wrote about it--from the vantage of a Charon-like figure who mans the conveyor belt--appears
earlier on these pages, under the title "The Foundry".)

At the same time, I painted a number of works on mirror or glass or mirror and glass into which this dream  attempted to take form. The earliest of these  which survives is  this small piece, twelve inches square, painted on a piece of copper colored mirrored tiling. The straight  lines are  where the mirrored surface appears. My intention was to do a piece which (a) reflected the time of day, which a mirror surely does and (b)a painting in which the viewer may  glimpse themselves. A close examination will yield many fiery figures.Also a ladder of mirror among the flames.

 Another version was on glass and mirror. This is the front panel painted on glass sans the mirror which  reflects the reversed side.
 This is the reverse side, which is a kind of calligraphic skeleton or armature on which the entire painting  "hangs". When it is backed with a second panel of unpainted mirror, it is reversed once again..
 This photograph shows both the two sided painting and the mirror altogether. The two panels are not quite an inch apart, and this process has the effect of  "floating " the painting.
 This is another painting from the same time,  in which I attempted to depict a fiery figure. The front of the first glass panel appears thus.

 But the reversed side is entirely different and is reflected in a mirror. This is, however, complicated further by a second glass panting below the first which is also painted on both sides.
 This is the front of the second glass panel.
 This is the back of the second glass panel.
 This is the three panels together. When assembled, the three panels are about an inch apart, and the painting flickers in  myriad ways.
 The anatomy of this painting is like the one above, and has four painted sides and a mirror.
Here is a detail.

 This is another four sided glass piece. Because it is airier than the previous paintings, I have omitted  the mirror and with it my own inadvertant appearance.
 This is a detail.
 This is another painting directly on mirror. The mirror appears bare mostly towards the center of the piece, but as a linear device throughout. Indeed, it might be described as being carved or incised as much as it is painted. Along with a painting called a "Baroque Mirror"--which will appear elsewhere--it is one of the most elaborate that I did using this technique..
 This is a detail of the center.

And this is a closer viewer of the  left side.
These were an attempt to transistorize the multiple layer technique of my screen paintings, which are my real center, as well as an attempt to make sense of my dream of the Foundry. Let me add that I do not believe that such a dream is meant to be taken literally. It would pain me to feel that I was consigning my dead to the fire. If anything, these were the fires which  I passed through.

(the first painting is 12'x12' and is painted on copper mirrored tile; the second is 8'x 10" and consists of a windowpane painted on two sides backed by a mirror; the following two paintings  are 8 x 12" and consist of  two  window panes  painted on both sides backed with a mirror of the same size; the final painting on mirror is 18''x 25")

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