Russell Edson’s poem, The Floor, has been rattling around in my head for a few days – in particular, its brilliant last line describing the brain as “this teetering bulb of dread and dream..” To me, Edson’s words perfectly capture the continuous mental oscillation between fear and Pandora’s box of eternal hope.
Somehow, this got conflated with an art assignment meant to depict the ambiguous, the ephemeral, and the visceral and I came up with this arguably creepy sketch (I should really have used CFL bulbs, but wouldn’t have had quite the same effect 🙂
When drawing, I was also thinking about the tall and god-like figures in Scorched Earth by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and Dali’s The Temptation of St. Anthony. Russell Edson’s poem is reproduced below, and some mind-expanding reading on this area can be seen here.
The floor is something we must fight against.
Whilst seemingly mere platform for the human
stance, it is that place that men fall to.
I am not dizzy. I stand as a tower, a lighthouse;
the pale ray of my sentiency flowing from my face.
But should I go dizzy I crash down into the floor;
my face into the floor, my attention bleeding into
the cracks of the floor.
Dear horizontal place, I do not wish to be a rug.
Do not pull at the difficult head, this teetering
bulb of dread and dream . .
— Russell Edson