Tuesday, January 25, 2011

MOBY-DICK, Page 545

Title: While Daggoo and Queequeg were stopping the strained planks; and as the whale swimming out from them, turned, and showed one entire flank as he shot by them again; at that moment a quick cry went up. Lashed round and round to the fish's back; pinioned in the turns upon turns in which, during the past night, the whale had reeled the involutions of the lines around him, the half torn body of the Parsee was seen; his sable raiment frayed to shreds; his distended eyes turned full upon old Ahab.

15.5 inches by 10.75 inches
acrylic paint on found paper
January 19, 2011


  1. Click on this one to make it bigger on your screen. It truly looks much much better larger.

  2. Looks bloody good little too.
    Stunning work, so much movement and then the weird contrast of the stillness of the lines and body.

  3. i love how it is abstract and also so expressive, so wrenching.

  4. Awesome, yes! Thank you Buck! I so wanted this to be spectral and dreadful.

  5. Again, a perfect and thrilling comment Titus! The whale is rising violently from the crashing waves, but the corpse of Fedallah is deadly still, almost crucified to the side. Thank you!

  6. Lizzy, the abstraction is actually an homage to the illustrator Rockwell Kent and an allusion to an earlier speech of Ahab's. When talking about Moby Dick to Starbuck, Ahab says "All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event - in the living act, the undoubted deed - there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there's naught beyond." So I wanted to show, especially here at the awful end, the White Whale as that terrifying wall, shoved near to Ahab, that he wants to smash and reach beyond. Moby Dick in this piece is less a living creature and more a blank, featureless, terrifying concept looming large.

  7. matt, thanks so much for you response. you caught it just right. abstract, a wall, and yet it has an edge that gives it life.

    (this all thrilling approaching end makes me wish we could throw a party and all be there in person!... hi titus! hi buck!)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.