seeing into shadows in the city of light

pablo picasso, guernica, 1937
living in paris, i sometimes feel like the kid in the film american beauty, shooting the video of the plastic bag. like he says, there's so much beauty, i feel like my heart could cave in.

my upstairs neighbor anne-lise told me that picasso had an atelier down the street from our flat. you can catch a glimpse it through her tiny kitchen window. from there, it looks like every other building on the street. but the next day, when i walk by with the pooch for our morning constitutional, the brass plaque on the doorway says it is the place where he painted guernica in 1937. shivers run through me and i begin to feel myself inexplicably welling up.

i think: how could something so dark be conceived here in this city of light?

i imagine picasso stepping through that doorway onto this very same street. looking at this very same light. and seeing something more in the dark.

kat coyle, lace, 2010
yesterday, i saw artist and designer kat coyle's lace. i have long admired kat's exuberant use of color. the darkness of this piece immediately put me in mind of guernica. kat's piece also seems to reflect the suffering, and beauty, that exists behind things, and the life, and strength, that lies within. a canvas, a plastic bag, some thread, a city, ourselves.

i asked if i could post about it here. she responded:

it means a lot to me that you are reminded of guernica when you see lace. since i made this in july, i lost my partner of 13 years. he was hit by a car as he crossed the street. i mention it because i am very attached to lace now because johnny helped me in so many ways to bring it into being. he was a big inspiration for me, and he responded to my work with passion. we were in the anarchy show together, he exhibited a painting he did of Jesus driving a 57 chevy. he made the frame for lace and helped me figure out how to show it. i could go on and on but, long story short, every time someone responds to lace I am reminded of a how close johnny and i got during the time i made it.

it never ceases to amaze me how some bits of string, and beauty, and pain, can bind us together.


Beth said...

Kate, this is an absolutely beautiful post! You are so lucky to live in a such a beautiful place...just steps from such history!
The lace piece by Kat is stunning and the story is sad yet compelling in our zest to find companionship and beauty.
Just lovely.

clairity123 said...

lovely piece Katie, everyone has a sorrow...sometimes we forget to look closely, its there but easily missed. I feel your joy, and how in this moment you are, enjoying this time...it will not come again. I keep trying to tell M. that.

kat said...

Kate, Thanks again for writing about Lace.

Michelle said...

thanks for sharing that kate, just beautiful. lots of wine at knit last night ;)

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