Monday, October 12, 2009

Momentum Artist: J. P. Morrison

JP Morrison, Bixby

Through the Looking Glass

Colored Pencil, Paper Collage and Colored Pencil, Acrylic

Q: What was your concept(s) behind your work(s)?

JM: Blue Beards Wife Eating a Pomegranate: Blue Beard, a mysterious man, takes his new bride far from everything she knows to live with him in his castle by the sea, their very own Garden of Eden. She knows that she is not his first wife, but the last in a line of seven women, all of whom have passed away. The husband provides his new wife with everything she can imagine, and they enjoy a brief honeymoon period. Before he departs on a business trip, Blue Beard gives his wife a ring of keys that unlock every door in the castle. She may do with the keys as she likes, save one. He tells her, “For that is the key to my own private study, from which I forbid you to enter.” Of course, the girl’s curiosity gets the better of her. She enters the study and finds it to be full of the bodies of all his previous wives. Worse, the offending key has become marked from its forbidden entry into the lock and the curious girl’s fate is sealed. Upon her husband’s return, he will learn of her disobedience, and she will join his other naughty wives in The Bloody Chamber.

The girl in this fairytale reminds me so much of another woman who indulged her curiosity at great cost: Eve. The key and the fruit of knowledge both serve as the same tool. However, at the end of The Tale of Blue Beard the girl is rescued and Blue Beard is the one who meets a gruesome end. The morals of this fairytale become blurred. Curiosity wins the day and order, rules and oppression are flouted. Here we see Blue Beard's Wife reveling in all her carnal knowledge.

The Sibyl Admiring Her Saturday Reflection: The powerful Sibyl is the writer of prophecy, a mother of fables and the keeper and protector of grimoires (spell books). Many luminous tales about the Sibyl tell of her epic adventures. After the fall of paganism she withdrew to a cave at the top of Monte Sibillini to live secretly in everlasting paradise, her stories still told in hushed voices.

In 1420, the author, Antoine de la Sale, tells of a German knight’s quest to the Sibyl. The knight discovers her at last in her grotto of earthly delight. The beautiful ageless people living there speak easily to each other in every language, sharing all thoughts. In nine days any newcomer converses with equal aplomb in this land of constantly blooming flowers and bountiful feasts.

However, the brave knight wonders why his Sibyl shuts herself away from him each Saturday. He spies upon her and discovers that on this day his lover turns into a great monster and all her maids to serpents. She is just an illusion, a trick of the devil, and he realizes he must set himself free. On the 330th day, (the final day upon which all escape is impossible) he makes his getaway. In Rome, the knight seeks forgiveness for his season in hell, but the Pope refuses him absolution. So the knight chooses to return to his beautiful Sibyl and live in bliss forever more – except on Saturdays.

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