Double take/Double vision
Please contact Joe at L L editions on 0114927671 for more information about the completed work in three portfolios.
Twelve prints. November 2017
Three sets of prints, completed 2018. (The variations are, first set, lithograph with colour; the second, lithograph; third, lithograph with one colour.)
Images from morning walks in the Cederberg.
References to “double vision” from;
Ben Orki; The way of being free.
Lorca; In search of Duende.
“Double vision. I mean that when she dances her eyes are not trained on herself; they are looking ahead, governing her movements, making her expression more objective, and helping her receive the blind, impressive bursts of pure instinct.”
Lorca, Poem of the deep song.
The Cry; “The ellipse of a cry”
The silence; “and it bends foreheads down towards the ground.”
The passing stage of the Siguiriya; “the earth of light, sky of earth.”
“believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.
Call the miracle self-healing:
The utter self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
Or lightening and storm
And a god speaks from the sky
That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at it term.”
We start our walk as the light deepens and streams smoothly into the earths canyons, caves, crags and crevices. The air thickens.
On three autumn mornings we walked out to find images. Moving in rhythm with the waking day my feet return to the paths that show the way to the rocks, past the dam that lies in the hollow of the flat top of this mountain.
The compass of memory may cause me to wonder and deviate but if I follow blindly, holding the seams of the rock for guidance, if I follow the water ways I will find myself back under the rocks, revisiting the images that change and seem different although I remember them well.
Orientation and bearing are senses that are drawn out of our bones. The smells of the marrow of the approaching day are eclipsed by the smells of old fires and dassie dropping. My memories are layered by each visit to these rocks.
One morning I walked on a gentle slope crossing planes of rock and stopped at a steep edge overlooking the central canyon. The rift that divided the flat mountain top exposed the inner earth, the river far below, like the spine of a half-opened book. I was on a turning page, time as fluid as the morning light.
To the right as I stood alone on the rock stretching my eyes, I could see twenty meters of rock wall watching me; seams of layered shale rested in giant formations and seemed to return my gaze. I felt as if the layers of stone stirred me into their waves of colour with a wooden spoon in the mixing bowl of ages. My eyes began to glide, wide as if abreast an eagle, scanning the page in the natural history book open before me. On the waves of echoes, I seemed to be transported through time on air, above the gully.
Another time I looked deeply into the cave, pulling my gaze onto the overhanging, cantilevered, worn, rock. I turned slowly swinging my gaze again widely away across the valley as if I was in the rock, a mark of ochre looking out, seeing people approaching from where I had just walked.
In the reverie of this moment the sun has shifted and shifted again and again. A pulse of warm current carried me closer and upward onto a narrow ridge. The scents of foliage increased, the sounds tick – ticked and clicked as the crickets rubbed their serrated legs.
As if in a trance, I seemed to be with the ancient people, being in the seams of the faces and legs, walking across miles of earth pulled by a magnetic urge to this place.
My toes push and pull into the sand of the cave floor. A page can be turned by a shaft of light, the double vision here, then there. My eye allows entry through a slow shutter: an amber eye. The rocks begin to breathe lightly, watching from the sleep of ages as a new day begins to shimmer. The hugeness of the great body of rock rests like an animal listening to stories murmered by the spirit of Chronos.
Once again, we feel we are in a ceremony. There is a shaman speaking; there are the new comers walking out of the water, off the scrub. I stand, one of many in the cave sand, sifting the fine coolness of air and sand through fingers and toes, resting bodies on silent feet, marking the stories of elephants and pathways. Generations of people residing, stirred into layers of time in this one place.
Visible in the half light, half visible in the full light, the people I am with on these rock walls are gentle and affection. I could have walked out of the milky water, I could have walked into the distant sky. I could see one person standing alone miles away, another carrying a baby into the distance, a mark became a zebra horse, repeated marks noted a procession of people. Observing the images, I saw more, imagined more, lived more.
My eye lids fold down and my eyes turn inward to mark this cave in my memory.
The early morning group moved, gazing, feet silenced by the sand. My skin was porous to the rising sun. We moved away along a diagonal ridge. The plants were spikey and scratched me awake. There were rabbit droppings, a lizard turned away.
On the second day the leaves were emerald green and languid in the shade of a short tree beside a water way. It was mid-morning and I felt frail in the face of the day, immortal in the detail of mark on rock. My spirit seemed to linger as the phantoms became smudges not wanting time to open my eye to the sharp-edged brightness of noon.
Scratching into the drawing paper I searched for the prints in the cave of my memory; I found some of the images that the days between encouraged me to forget. Scratching and brushing with ink and wash brought the surfaces to life. Images begin to float up, surface and waver.
Those days, those pages I turned, from them I made images EV 1/1, 2/2, 3/3 becoming 1/2, 2/2, 2/3, 1/3, 2/3, 3