Mise en Abyme


Zann’s window

Zann's window (a view from the Rue d'auseil) 44x44 inch. ink and oil on linen

This is the first painting of the Mise en abyme series I’m currently working on.  Mise en abyme means pictures within pictures or translates as -placed within infinity.  A view from the Rue d’Auseil is a reference to an H.P. Lovecraft story “The music of Erich Zann”. In the story the musician is playing to an unknown participant through a window that overlooks someplace other than where he is.

There are two prominent dimensions here, the center window and the perspective framing it. The frame of the outside perspective is dying and worn like edges of the moon, at a point of outliving its usefulness and falling into entropy. The only way out is by leaving its shell behind and moving on through the portal at the center of the picture, leading into the great beyond.  But where this void would normally represent death, here it signifies eternal vitality, “To that which is born, death is certain; and to that which is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, you should not grieve over that which is inevitable”.  -Bhagavad Gita.

Bodhidharma -a buddhist monk from the 5th/6th century, is another person I wanted to represent in this painting.  He is believed to have brought Zen Buddhism to China, and is fabled as the catalyst of the Shaolin monks. When asked by the emperor what the meaning of the noble truth is if you do not get any karmic merit doing good things for worldly ambitions, Bodhidharma stated  “There is no noble truth, only void”.  Here he takes the throne at the top as the king of the dead.

Mise en Abyme. Placed within the abyss, the center of an eternal series of windows and mirrors, deaths and rebirths. A sphere of which the center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.  Music plays the same song for Planck distance as it does for photosynthesis and as Pythagoras plays us out, we make our swan dive back Into the void.

Zann's window (detail middle)

The link below is a song by “Aural Holograms” called “Beyond the Black Deep”.