Sunday, November 27, 2011

Seeing not saying

"Hurtle too knew better than everybody, than all these anyway, Sid Cupples included; not that he could have explained what he knew: because he saw rather than thought. He often wished he could think like people think in books, but he could only see or feel his way. He itched to get his fingers in their wool, for the feel of it."

Hurtle Duffield is the developing artist in Patrick White's novel, 'The Vivesector,' who as a child, is visiting his adopted parents' property - a sheep ranch - from which their wealth flows (as it did for White).

I had marked the passage, when I read it first, an age ago, which was/is a very rare occurrence. It was the first page I read on getting home on seeing the Edward Burra exhibition yesterday. One of those coincidences that we are to pretend do not mean anything.

It so resonated with the fragmentary interview with Edward Burra, as he politely refused to answer any of the interviewer's questions about what he could say about his art.

At one point, he asks why the interviewer is so interested in this 'personality stuff' for it has nothing to do with personality; and, you can sense all the time, he wants to say, "Just look at the fucking paintings. It is all there in so far as I can ever capture, evoke it!

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