Brenner, A Holdfast Floating

A Holdfast Floating , 1993, oil on canvas in 5 panels; 72” x 222” overall; panel #1: 72” x 26”; panel #3 and 5: 72” x 60”

In A Holdfast Floating, the title connotes both holding on and letting go. The image of figures immersed in water is a metaphor for the unrepresentable — a longing for death as longing for regres¬sion, a return to the womb. One of the larger canvases depicts two figures – one right side up and more developed and the other upside down and painted as a dark silhouette – giving a simultaneous sense of presence and absence. These figures become a motif throughout the series. In the other large canvas an explosive, unformed area suggests the upside down figure. The figure seems to be splitting apart, but is the splitting an act of creation or destruction? In this canvas the shape of the two figures forms a pattern that covers the canvas’ surface. The pattern mimics the look of writing, implying meaning, but that meaning is found only in the code of monotonous repetition. The texts for this painting were created in a kind of collage poetry process. One refers to the origins of language and meaning and the other to myths that direct gender identity.
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