The Inside of a Marriage
From an email exchange:
I like your painting a lot. It’s titled ‘The inside of a marriage’? Were you thinking of your marriage when you painted it?
Thanks- It came about because James told me that he liked my "traintracks" (what we call my abstract stuff) more than my cartoon stuff, and we saw this gallery where all of the artists were great and I had this huge internal meltdown. From this I decided I would make a painting for James- yes, about our marriage and I was asking myself: What is a marriage? and How have we managed to stay married this long!?
The circle is the world- it is the marriage- it is this "thing" - the inside of it contains all of the feelings and messes and patches that go along with marriage. And the people are me and James - we were originally going to be holding hands and holding onto this "thing" but as I was making it - it appeared that we had been holding onto each other and our marriage for so long that we became connected at the hands. (a la David Brooks: A successful marriage is a fifty-year conversation getting ever closer to that melding of mind and heart. Love expresses itself in shared smiles and shared tears and ends with the statement, “Love you? I am you.”) We became one being braced against this "thing." And the "thing" is so large and complex (but the complexity can only be fully seen from the inside)- that when external forces seem to influence things or try to influence things (the men in the sky- the personification of wind- an idea from those old antique maps my friend Chuck collects and loves) they don't really have much influence- and aren't that big compared with everything that has gone before and everything that we are still holding on to.
You can see that there is this world- and there is only one house (our house) and even our house is very small in comparison to our "marriage" (showing relative importance) and then there are also lots of "winter trees" from the way Anne Lamott talks about winter trees- that they are the stripped away essence of things, that they don't serve us by offering up leaves and shade at the moment, but still have value. Winter trees are my new favorite trees, and in that classic childhood drawing of the house and the sky, you always need a tree! So that is it- I did the abstract part with my "feeling self" and the men in the sky and the people with my "cognitive self."
The alternative title is "Sister of Jupiter." Because if you just have the "thing" and you rotate it 90 degrees, perhaps you can see the familial resemblance. This is the title that I thought I would use if I wanted to keep all of the inside story a secret. But I opted for the real title.