I found this 2010 painting by Lisa David, when it appeared on the PAFA After Dark: Real World postcard very exciting. Here is a view of the Eraserhood, as seen from the rooftop of the very institution that indirectly caused our neighborhood to carry this particularly colorful moniker. Here, for me, was the bridge that reconnected these two locations.
This reconnection also inspired me to remember Lynch’s first short film, the 1967 Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times). According to Gunnar Theodór Eggertsson in Painting With Film: Affective immediacy and temporal narrative in the cinema of David Lynch:
Once upon a time David Lynch looked at one of his paintings – an almost all-black painting of a garden – when he suddenly heard the wind blowing. For a second he saw the painting move and got the idea of making a moving painting with accompanying sound. In 1967 he produced his first moving painting – Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times) – a minute long animated loop showing six figures vomiting, looped six times. Originally presented on a sculptured canvas, this painting would later become known as David Lynch’s first short film.
All of which leads me inevitably to the real point. The current art of moving painting as typified by Bill Viola’s Ocean Without a Shore, now on display in PAFA’s Morris Gallery. Here we have a high-resolution version of twenty four, rather than six humans — not all men — who are getting wet rather than sick:
Entering Ocean Without a Shore, the viewer stands in a darkened room before three large video monitors. In turns that last an average of three to four minutes on each of the three screens, two dozen people approach slowly and singly from behind an invisible wall of rushing water. They are hazy and ethereal in grainy gray tones, and as they come closer they touch the unseen barrier, making it visible as a powerful broken torrent. Stepping through this wall of water they transform into full color, brought to life before us and made present and real. There is something vulnerable and striking in this arrival, where each figure, slightly dazed and tentative in their movements, stands motionless and silent in their water-logged clothes, speaking in gestures, movements, and emotive glances that have the weight of a thousand words.
Personally, I found impossible to witness this performance / view this installation without thinking of Lynch’s Six. The title quote, from Andalusian Sufi mystic Ibn Arabi, “The Self is an ocean without a shore. Gazing upon it has no beginning or end, in this world and the next,” only serves to make this piece more evocative of Lynch’s body of work.