Description of Man with Cello

man with a Cello, 54 x 43, 2014

I have been asked a number of times recently to describe Man with Cello and the meaning behind the image.

I began with the idea of a man playing a cello.  The image would be vertical and primarily just him.  Once I created it, however, I was not excited about it and turned it into a horizontal image to allow for more negative space.  I found it too simple with too much open space for my taste, so I added the woman, which I built from two mannequins and a vintage hosiery ad.

I normally have an idea of both the concept and image when I begin.  In this case, however, once I left the idea of a man alone playing cello, nothing flowed into place.  With this void, I struggled more than I do with most of my pieces.  I finally had to just leave it alone for a few weeks.  When I came back to it I added the music and had a visual flash of them on the shore of a body of water.  Again I was stumped and left it for a few weeks.  When I came back to it fresh it was apparent that it is a dialogue.  The dialogue is between two people, and it is also the dialogue within each of them and with their environment.

This is reflected in the music, the push and pull of the No, No, No and the large YES, the rules in black and white, the softer cursive writing that is not quite clear, and, of course, two of the representatives of external communication, phone and TV.

The writing in the bottom of the piece is a quote by English novelist Iris Murdoch which says that when you begin to acknowledge that people exist outside yourself (as real living beings, not as objects in your world) you are taking the first step away from narcissism.

The Chinese and English on the woman’s flesh is from a book titled Five Fold Happiness.  Since I have used bits and fragments, it is nonsensical, and is meant to be representative of luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness and wealth.

Now the dialogue is between the viewer and the piece.

 

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