Submission No. 36

Trude Guermonprez
1910-76

I was at the Oakland Museum of California and I saw this little textile-painting, says Miriam. You could go see it yourself, if you like, which will help you see it without my reflection in the way. (I don’t know anything about this artist, beyond the stated dates of birth and death.)

Quiet / Calm by Trude Guermonprez

Guermonprez-QuietCalm

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I’m glad you submitted this. I love this textile-painting. It is so elegant I can hardly stand it.

The vague sense of a horizon, of the sea and hazy sky… yet the colors muted, rubbed as if with charcoal… The sizes of the letters…Notice how QUIET and CALM are larger…. The mysterious,  sun-like disc at center…

The message in the words of this work could be considered didactic and trite. Happiness vs. Sadness! Both are present. They alternate. Sometimes I am quiet, sometimes calm! We need both! But somehow because of the understated artistry of the work, the message here does not seem didactic and trite. It seems pleasing. Even profound. How is that working? It is all in the details, those elements reflecting the horizon, the weave, the little red threads running through it…

And your reflection Miriam (which is hard to see, actually — I saw the bluish square but not the person at first). Your reflection is doubly great. We see you in that arms-outstretched, I’m-taking-a-picture-deliberately pose so common to our time. You are capturing it in a pattern of light (for you? for me?). Yet you cannot capture it of course. We know that. It hangs on the wall. It flaps in our heads.

HAPPINESS QUIET / SADNESS CALM.

But is it true? Does happiness produce quiet? Sadness, calm? It is on its face, a ridiculous question. But I would say: yes. Even though these words are mere approximations (as all words are), they do cluster around the experiences I associate with these two opposite emotions. Both, then, both happiness and sadness have… good results.

Due to this undercurrent, and the love woven into the rough wave-like weaving we see in the close-up, I can safely say that this textile-painting will bring satisfaction to most viewers.

I noticed the artist, Trude Guermonprez, died young, at 66. Wonder why. Would that be quiet or calm, when you are in your grave?

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About Tom Clyde

The best place to learn about me is to read my riffs. What could be more revealing? Cheeky, maybe, but true enough.

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