A Small Experimental Drawing (and the law of intended consequences)
by Steven McCabe
After visiting the JMW Turner exhibition for a second time at the Art Gallery of Ontario and wading through the busloads of students and groups of seniors from retirement/nursing homes I realized how fortunate I had been on Friday night when the place was half deserted. Possibly half full.
Again I am reminded of Turner’s grey. Vanishing yet insistent. Drawing the eye. Drawing the eye into. Possibly even halfway in.
Sometimes one is drawn by the air of an unexplored territory. Or summoned by insistent mystery. Summoned halfway into a vanishing mystery.
I focus on the brilliant whites in Turner’s work, and escape the crush, wandering into a drawing exhibition pulled from the print & drawing vaults.
Three of the works refresh anew my dilemma. I think of the Judge’s black robes.
I join a raiding party. The Captain’s name is Font. His horse is called Halfway.
The raiding party does not solve my crisis. Nevertheless I raise the end of a burnt stick from the fire.
Marking the edge of the law. My declaration marking the edge of the law.
There is no natural boundary to the embedded law of intended consequence.
Another edge must roll it back to where it came from. Or swallow it. Leaving its bones along the trail.
The edge of the sun!
The ambers, and whites, and Naples Yellow in Turner’s sky, radiating with silent resolution.
Let me tell you a story about Naples Yellow.
I visited an artist one night many years ago.
There are many stories to tell about that night but I will tell you this one.
When I was leaving, at the bottom of the stairs, the artist began talking about Naples Yellow.
And did not stop.
The artists, the art periods, the art movements involved with Naples Yellow.
The secret uses of Naples Yellow, The powers of Naples Yellow, the magic of Naples Yellow.
Perhaps Naples Yellow can solve my dilemma.