I know this sounds atypically Zen for me, and in fact it is a concept taught in Aikido, but also Neuro-Linguistic Programming and equestrianism. In addition, my old friend, the physiologist and psychologist, the late Ed Wortz (LA shrink to the art stars) told me once that your eyes dilate when you look at someone you love, and that’s why loved ones seem to glow. I think “soft eyes” is a similar phenomenon -- it’s like falling in love.
CLAUDE MONET, Les Bassin aux nymphéas,
1917-1919, Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 78 3/4 inches
I bring this up now because I just fell in love -- with the show Claude Monet, Late Work at the Gagosian Gallery (until June 26th). Yes, the same gallery that gave us the great Pablo Picasso, Mosqueteros show last year (Larry is such a show off!). These are paintings of light and space. Colors breath and interact with adjacent colors, making them appear brighter and sometimes changing their hue. Figure and ground, especially in the latest paintings, the Nymphéas, are ambiguous to the point where they sometimes merge. Even our point of view -- where we are in space relative to the image -- is confusing. Are we floating above the waterlilies? Looking through them? Looking at a reflection? There is very little to grasp and hold on to here -- you just have to let go and love them.
CLAUDE MONET, Nymphéas, 1914-1917,
Oil on canvas, 59 x 78 3/4 inches