A beast is encountered on a pleasant day, when the air moves in calming wisps, warm and cool against the big, bright blue. All that is clear is that it is an animal and very, very much alive: Look! Could it be? An abstract beast of the finest quality! It salutes me, then growls. Then it expends itself to offer up a long roar at the sky. The big, bright blue ripples and shakes. Such a sound bends light! ěSometimes the beauty of the world is so overwhelming, I just want to throw back my head and gargle. Just gargle and gargle, and I donít care who hears me, because I am beautiful.î - Jack Handey Look again. Can you see it grow? You can detect the gravity, represented by black lines. The beast stretches and heaves into space, squeezing against the natural forces that hold it downward. It is slow and quick. Appendages slither around in the air, orbitting the main body. It is thinking. It sees me! Is this a salutation or predation? Simultaneously, the beast roars, gargles, bubbles, spits, stretches, embraces, kicks, grabs, squeezes, cuddles and contemplates. Iím beginning to sense humor. It purrs. The purr turns into a gargle. Ha ha ha! I am making a friend! If I can become so captivated by a beast, then perhaps it is not a beast. This could be a friendly creature if approached with the proper charm and care. It is like learning to love ten-foot-long snakes who perceive and ruminate with slowness and caution. I can approach it only if I sympathize and apply my frames of reference. The creature moves with such confidence! Its stable structure asserts itself against the sky. There is strength in the balance of colors- at the same time, mono- and polycromatic. Boundaries fix every hue in place. The hues refuse to stay and drip across the lines. Black curls around itself, in squares, circles, fetus-like semi-circles, curls and straight hairs. It is the greatest animal I have ever seen... I am a fanatic. Now, consider the space. It is two dimensional, but it appears to be three. Each defined form overlaps in some way, apart from the orbitting, circled body. The background blue quickly slashes at the circle. But Circle defies Blue and floats away. The creature probes Circle with its multiple, overlapping detectors. ...I am a reporter. The body exhibits well-distributed amounts of tension-heightening and tension-reducing factors. I begin to connect my ideas. My preferences in art initially attracted me to this object. Then I began to formulate an idea- that it is an animal. If someone near me also appreciated the object, I would want to articulate my thoughts and listen to their perspective. My self-awareness previously disabled me; preventing me from coversing whole-heartedly. Awe of this object diminishes the self. ...I am a psychologist. It protrudes and curves as male and female, breathing into space with vibrant color and deep black. It sees me and salutes and growls. Yet it is self-absorbed and exploring the world...
Sitting quietly by myself at night, I hear a noise. It sounds like someone slurping... like an animal... I have to go see. From wence does this sound originate? The closet. With fearful anticipation, I approach the closet door, put my hand on the doorknob, and turn... Ooooooh, what are those? They are nasty little sticky things! I have never seen them before, only in the movies. What affords me such an opportunity to see them in my own space? They are moving. Moving toward me? I am taken aback. I want to observe, but I do not want to risk exposure to these alien creatures. If I keep my distance, I can observe and gauge my level of safety. What sort of danger do they present to me? Can I touch them? No. I will just look. So many exist together, crawling about. It is disgusting! Yet captivating. I am amazed at the complexity of their movements. They seem to encircle one another, keeping contact at all times. There are apparent individuals, but together they form a matrix of goo. Upon closer inspection, I see groupings- colonies, if you will- of nasties. Beneath the outer layer of busy-bodies, these nasties stick together in clumps. Every once in a while, one disengages from the rest and slithers about, sticking again elsewhere. They see me! Quickly and slowly, some seem to reach out to me, only to be pulled back into the group. If I were to touch them, they would not let go. These are the sort of things that bite! ěAnytime I see something screech across a room and latch onto someoneís neck, and the guy screams and tries to get it off, I have to laugh, because what is that thing?!î -Jack Handey. This is horror! How is it that they have broken into my home? What are they? What does it mean?! I want to run away. I canít. I cannot disengage my focus from this body of little, sticky things. They repulse me, yet invite me. It is a net and it has caught me. I move forward. I canít stay back. I want to touch them. Jumping out at me, they grab me, one by one. No, wait! This is sick! I need to get out! I pull away and they pull me in. My muscles are giving out. I cannot resist the force. They have taken over. I canít breathe!
The images are similar in the way they attract my attention. There is vibrancy in their expression of color and shape or facial expression. They are both lively articulations and potentially comical. It is the unguarded communication of absurdity that amuses me and incites the imagination. As surprise sparks my interest, the beast transforms into a beautiful creature. It is with further inspection of the image itself that I develop ideas. The story is my imagined encounter with this figure in real life. It is an animal because it attests to gravity (in the bending of dark lines and sturdy structure) and movement (in the depth created by overlapping shapes and in the force of extended appendages). As an abstract form, it permits a complex and multi-faceted interpretation. The animal is not static, but exhibits a variety of behaviors. Surprise is already evident in the face of the observing, photographed man. So, a story unfolds behind his experience. I am him. What do I see? This story, like the last, is an encounter with beasts. Observation of these beasts results in a manic drive to interact, coupled with repulsion. It is a sort of horror story, rather than a pleasant, surrealist experience. For both images, I visualize a physical encounter. They are mystifying and I try to bring them into the real world in order to endow them with context. They attract me because there is something I can imagine behind their forms. The beast plays and the nasties fight their way into my imagination.