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Ruark Lewis

The Fourth Duino Elegy - R.M. Rilke No. 1 Transcription, 1989

SOLD

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Catalogue number: 47

oil on board

98.50 x 81.00

signed, titled and dated on reverse

Provenance:

The Artist;
Mosman Art Prize, 1989;
Private Collection, New Zealand, till 2021

Exhibited:

Ruark Lewis: Transcription Drawings, Syme Dodson Gallery, Sydney, 1989;
Mosman Art Prize, 1989 (awarded 2nd prize)

Note:

The exhibition was mentioned in the review by Elwyn Lynn in The Australian and John McDonald in the SMH.
Note from the artist (3/1/2023): "Recently I rediscovered a language painting, part of a series of 3 images that transcribes the 4th elegy. This painting dating from around 1989, and probably made during the year before, is an uncompromising response to an inner world of the poet’s meditative process. It does not illustrate or convey like simile, as the source of Rilke’s inspiration is rumoured to have done. My painting I called a Transcription Drawing. In the actual sense to transcribe is to interpret directly. This can convey an atmosphere, tracing each character in each word. It builds from light to darkness. This poetic terrain results in a record of time passing. The painting is also a sequence of colour interactions utilising a reduced palette of 5 basic colours. The Australian poet Robert Grey once commented that this process of illumination in the reverse sense is called palimpsest. As an artist painting literature, my guide at that time was a blind writer and librettist. In the art of seeing the task of illuminating of turning light to dark her sightlessness being a state of perpetual luminosity drew me to propose a corresponding trace based on positive and negative spaces. Each letter is drawn down carefully to reflect its distinct character. Each intervening space around it is painted as the ground the characters stand upon. Shared space a liaison of figure-ground, the inner and outer existence is based on their arranged continuum. The poem announces the musical domain, the inner domain which the reader willing pronounces. Upon this field of characters, the process is repeated. The differences of colours by using semi hardened pigments mixed with wax slowly builds layer upon layer. Over time the over layered fields start to collide with each other. This distorting affect exists because of happenstance. It is the inverse and reverse of these accumulated fluid, the marks and dashes arranged by sequence using the palette of light to dark colours that allows a build-up of skin and the contour of characters in Rilke’s text, resulting in a hypnotic field of existence. This is devised as a somewhat child-game, an idea for making an image that both the sightless and the sighted can feel. In one instance it has created an atmosphere that is resoundingly attuned with all the phases of the poem itself leaving a physical result that is tactile to touch. That sense replacing sight." https://rilkepoetry.com/duino-elegies/fourth-duino-elegy/

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Since its establishment in 1984, the Charles Nodrum Gallery’s exhibition program embraces a diversity of media and styles - from painting, sculpture & works on paper to graphics and photography; from figurative, geometric, gestural, surrealist & social comment to installation & conceptually based work.