Kalarte Gallery

The Double World

notes on the paintings

A parable

A group of Indians in the Canadian northwest met with government foresters to talk about control of the woodlands. The Indians, who had lived there for centuries, were startled to hear the newcomers claim the land for the government. They hardly knew how to reply. Finally one of the elders summed up their bewilderment. "If this is your land," he asked, "where are your stories?"

A dream

I see a little person about the size of a cat living in a corner of my closet. He has been there for years without my knowing it. I am astonished by my blindness. An investigator kneels at the closet door; he says, "Isn't there a little person about the size of a cat living in your closet?" He bends further, peering under the closet door. I put my foot on his back.

There are two realities, here and now and beyond. The boundary between them is everywhere, and their meeting has two forms-a harmonious union and a nightmare. Joy sometimes turns into its opposite.

The horror of doubling comes from the fear of being lost, the fear that there is more than one self, and it is impossible to know the real one.

When the two towers crumbled, dissolving into thin air, the transience of the material world was revealed.

There are two worlds. By knowing the dance of another reality we can find structures that reach into another dimension, forming an arch that connects the here and now to the beyond-not just a more ethereal realm but a different one, a mystery that I try to grasp by making pictures. Images show what words lose.

The two worlds: paintings of the light from beyond. My mind keeps on generating these images without knowing what they're about. It functions on another plane. It has its own way of knowing.

What lies beyond? The paintings give hints and suggestions, many of them connected with light, either gentle or harsh: fire, a radiant glow, all the lights one finds in nature, on leaves and branches in the woods, among the waving grasses, by the sea, in the sky.

— Herbert Marder

Herbert Marder was born in Vienna and grew up in New York City. He taught English literature and writing at the University of Illinois. He is the author of Feminism and Art: A Study of Virginia Woolf, 1968; and The Measure of LIfe: Virginia Woolf's Last Years, 2000. He has been painting for 35 years, mainly in the summers, on Monhegan Island, Maine.

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