The Quarantined Living Room: A Zen Hallucination
24 x 30 in. Oil on canvas. 2021.
There have been several days during Shelter In Place, that my brain has fully hallucinated a painting with no effort on my part. These are not COVID hallucination symptoms as I have never tested positive. I’m thinking the repetitive SIP views of the living room have bored my visual consumption, and my brain is spitting out breakdowns of my environment as an autonomic mental health treadmill. I see these hallucinations so much now that I have to send myself email reminders to sketch out these future paintings. This piece came to me in a flash, like most in the past year, either right before bed or when I wake up. For two days, it covered my waking sight until I started working on it for my own sanity. This was a tricky three month painting requiring varieties of masking tape, and a hairpulling total of hundreds of trial and error passes as I tried my form of Gerhard Richter movement, topped with weeks in between to wait for oil layers to dry. There is a Zen placement to these structures, from some inexplicable desire for nothing to be precisely congruent, but wanting everything to be precisely congruent. The underpainting is my own creation of off-white (Burnt Umber, Titanium White, and Cadmium Yellow Hue) inspired by the darkness of a linen canvas to mute the brightness for raster burned eyes and viewing pleasure. I don’t understand why my brain feels good looking at this nor why it has created a summary of what I assume are the elements of my living room; I have no lamp or furniture to distill such elements. The entertaining artistic hallucinations, however, are very real and blessedly safe.
- Ezra J