Between Light And Shadows — Making Something Visible That Might Otherwise Be Invisible   6 comments

"Morning Sun" Painting by Edward Hopper

“Morning Sun” Painting by Edward Hopper

Life and art are defined by what lies between light and shadows. In Holland Cotter’s April 30, 2007 article in the New York Times, he wrote “A certain slant of light was Edward Hopper’s thing. And he made it our thing, hard-wired it into our American brains:”

Every since seeing Edward Hopper’s, “Nighthawks” at the Art Institute of Chicago, as a young man, I have been seduced by his work — not because he hard-wired my brain, but because of the human ability to distinguish between an object and its background. It is the contrast between light and shadows that catches the eye, which is why Hopper’s work is so seductive — it the essence of the “Hopper Effect: the impression of everyday life touched with secular sanctity. “

Poet L.E. Sissman was so captivated by Hopper’s work that he wrote “American Light: A Hopper Retrospective”. Written in five parts, the first part subtitled, “Hopper”.

A man, a plan, a spandrel touched with fire,
A morning-tinted cornice, a lit spire,
A clapboard gable beetled with the brow-
Shadows of lintels, a glazed vacancy
In shut-up shopfronts, an ineffably
Beautiful emptiness of sunlight in
Bare rooms of which he was the sole inhabitant:
The morning and the evening of his life
Rotated, a lone sun, about the plinth
On which he stood in granite, limned by light
That lasted on day long and then went out.

Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks"

Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks”

Yes, it’s all about what falls between the light and the shadows, as Joyce Carol Oats writes on Hopper’s “Nighthawks” in Transforming Vision – Writers on Art:

The three men are fully clothed, long sleeves,
even hats, though it’s indoors, and brightly lit,
and there’s a women. The woman is wearing
a short-sleeved red dress cut to expose her arms,
a curve of her creamy chest; she’s contemplating
a cigarette in her right hand, thinking that
her companion has finally left his wife but
can she trust him? Her heavy-lidded eyes,
pouty lipsticked mouth, she has the redhead’s
true pallor like skill milk, damned good-looking
and she guesses she knows it but what exactly
has it gotten her so far, and where? — he’ll start
to feel guilty in a few days, she knows
the signs, an actual smell, sweaty, rancid, like
dirty socks; he’ll slip away to make telephone calls. . .

“. . . People the vacuum with American light.” — the last line in T.S. Sissman’s poem on Edward Hopper.

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge…” — Rod Serling, Twilight Zone.

I feel that in the images I capture, I’m always trying to capture that middle ground between light and shadow — maybe Edward Hopper was too.

Some may think of the space between light and the shadow as the twilight zone, I think of it as what the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca called duende, which as Edward Hirsch has put it, “. . . it makes something visible that might otherwise be invisible, that has been swimming under the surface all along.”

kenne

Desert Fall ShadowsBetween Light and Shadows — Image by kenne

 

6 responses to “Between Light And Shadows — Making Something Visible That Might Otherwise Be Invisible

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  1. Very interesting blog.Thank you so much for stopping by and liking my post.Wishing you all the best.jalal

    Like

  2. the paintings are wonderful
    and the words filled between the light of shadows to me…
    but your image is absolutely stunning
    silhouettes dancing within fire….and the music plays on….
    Beautiful..Thank you for sharing
    Take Care….You Matter…
    )0(
    maryrose

    Like

    LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words
  3. Hopper is one of my faves for his certain slant of light, also Emily Dickinsn

    Like

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