Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The iconography of eternity

The Musician by Cecil Collins

Music was essential to Collins as a referent to what he was seeking to embody in paint. Music is forming sound wholly real and wholly itself. It does not imitate the world, represent it. It sounds the chords out of which the world is woven. So to for Collins, as Brian Keeble makes beautifully clear in his 'Cecil Collins: The Artist as Writer and Image Maker', at his most luminous Collins' images embody the archetypal forms of the world without dissolving into the realistic particularities of the world. They carry you across into a contemplation of the essential forms from which the world is made.

Collins' art is essentially Platonic -the forms are alive, flexible, transforming - and iconic - you are seen through them by a glimpse of eternity.

As here, the musician is recognisably one and yet in a place that is 'nowhere' particular - an ideal form yet an idea that is alive, pregnant with the possibility of offering a purifying sound. Collins' paintings elude history and offer eternity. They elude particular religious reference, the accumulation of tradition, and offer sacredness unalloyed. An invitation to a renewed paradise.

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