<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
Chapter Nine of Marcia Brennan's Flowering Light: Kabbalistic Mysticism and the Art of Elliot R. Wolfson
Elliot R. Wolfson, Palimpsest , 2006. © Elliot R. Wolfson.

Flowering Light -- buy from Rice University Press. image --> If the visualization of angelic embodiment can be imagined as a creative process of “embody[ing] that which is not a body” and “giv[ing]form to the formless,” then both a reversed and a complementary version of these concepts can be seen in the painting Palimpsest (2006). Palimpsest so completely incorporates a diaphanous state of paradox that, on its surface, each painterly gesture represents an act of erasure, just as each erasure is itself a painterly gesture. To paraphrase another of Wolfson’s poetic formulations, the painting can be seen as an act that unfolds in seemingly opposite directions simultaneously, as it inscripts erasure while erasing inscription.

The term “palimpsest” derives from the Greek word palimpsēstos , which means “scraped again.” In practical usage, a palimpsest refers to a writing surface, such as a piece of paper, parchment, or canvas, that has been used multiple times, thereby displaying previous inscriptions that have subsequently been erased. Characterized by residual traces of “ghost” presences ( pentimenti ), a palimpsest can be imaginatively envisioned as a graveyard of living forms. To actively paint a palimpsest is to paint what has been unpainted, as the painting performs a disappearance of its own appearance, an apophatic saying of its own unsaying. As Wolfson has commented, Palimpsest “was one of the canvases with which I had to struggle, and to this day, I am not sure at all how the canvas received the paint in the way it did. But you are right that it is a form of apophatic writing.” Elliot R. Wolfson, in correspondence with the author, December 1, 2006. Thus to produce a palimpsest is to undertake a form of negative writing—or, in this instance, negative painting, an act that creates a presence by removing a presence. And with this unpainted painting, Palimpsest writes another chapter in the unwritten book of flowering light.

Palimpsest is a dark and complex painting, and its scraped facade may initially be difficult to look at. The subtle, polychrome surface displays a range of densely textured brushwork, with visible layers of dry brush scraping evident throughout the canvas. The surface of the painting thus exhibits the process of its own (un)making, of being painted, over-painted, and unpainted, as shades of darkness are emphatically asserted and subsequently removed. The result is a fluttering, “negative” white form that seems to hover aerially in the dark “positive” field of the canvas, a ground so deeply purple that it emerges through warm shades of blackened maroon. According to Wolfson, this painting was inspired by an idea in an ancient alchemical text, in particular, the magical image of “blood so red, it was black.” As we have seen, the practice of painting itself has been described as a form of alchemy, as symbolically marking a surface with oil in order to effect the transmogrification of form. Thus in the depths of its formal and symbolic structures, Palimpsest erases and encodes the underlying mystical principle of the coincidentia oppositorum .

Questions & Answers

a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
kkk nice
Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
is it 3×y ?
Joan Reply
J, combine like terms 7x-4y
Bridget Reply
im not good at math so would this help me
Rachael Reply
how did I we'll learn this
Noor Reply
f(x)= 2|x+5| find f(-6)
Prince Reply
f(n)= 2n + 1
Samantha Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
QuizOver.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Flowering light: kabbalistic mysticism and the art of elliot r. wolfson. OpenStax CNX. Dec 09, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10611/1.1
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Flowering light: kabbalistic mysticism and the art of elliot r. wolfson' conversation and receive update notifications?