Saturday, October 18, 2014

"I Heard a Fly Buzz....": Emily Dickison Tribute Portrait (Ties for 2nd Place in EBSQ "Celebrating Fan Art" Exhibit)

"I Heard a Fly Buzz...."

"I Heard a Fly Buzz..." 

How do I always get so behind in here....?!?  

Last month, in September, the online community of self-representing artists, EBSQ, hosted a themed art exhibit, entitled 'Celebrating Fan Art'.   While I figured the prospectus was probably primarily geared toward subject matter from more recent pop culture, I decided instead to make my entry yet another ode (because you can never have too many odes, amiright?) to that one-of-a-kind lady poet born 184 years ago (but who's counting?) -- the late, great Emily Dickinson....

The following is my artist statement:


When reflecting upon this month's EBSQ exhibit theme, "Celebrating Fan Art", I thought about all the innumerable and diverse popular cultural, social and artistic influences, present and past, that have impacted me in one way or another throughout the course of my life.  Narrowing such a number down to one posed a big challenge -- however, being as that it so happens that the last several consecutive painting projects of mine lately have depicted male figures, I decided to at least concentrate on a woman, if only for a refreshing change of pace (no offense to men).  There are any number of amazing female cultural icons of whom I am a fan and believe deserving of tributes....but finally, the familiar first lines of an old poem, by a certain enigmatic classic American writer, came to mind....:

".....I heard a Fly buzz - when I died -
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air -
Between the Heaves of Storm...."

And so begins one of Emily Dickinson's most notable pieces, "I Heard a Fly Buzz...."..... 

I recall my first taste of Dickinson, coming across this particular poem in English class all the way back to middle school or so.  I remember the struggle at the time to understand the meaning that might lie behind those few short lines of carefully chosen words.   What did the author mean...?  A Fly.  Somebody's death.  Buzzing.  ???   But I was intrigued, and my interest piqued enough in that classroom all those years ago, that I, as have so many others, went on to become a fan of her unique, unconventional writing style.....

An expressive composer of over 1700 poems, Emily Dickinson never actually received wide recognition within her lifetime.  She was undoubtedly an introvert -- something I can surely relate to.  An intensely private person, she instead became known more for her near reclusiveness in her later years and her penchant for wearing all white than she ever did for her writing. It was only after her death, when her secret stash of writings was discovered by a relative, that the astonishing scope of her work was finally revealed.

Emily Dickinson never married nor had children, but we can all agree she gave birth to a legacy of another kind: an incredible body of poetic verse, that continues to speak to us today nearly two centuries later. Thus I portray Miss Dickinson in this, my tribute portrait, in a dress of white, along with a friendly fly to keep her company....

(This is my 2nd in a series of tribute paintings to the great American poet, Emily Dickinson.  The first is here)

"I Heard a Fly Buzz...." -- A view to the side

And, I'm pleased and happy to say my entry, "I Heard a Fly Buzz...." tied for "Member's Mention" (or, 2nd Place) in the show!  (And there were more than four entries this time around, lol ;-) )  Thanks so much, EBSQ....!

"I Heard a Fly Buzz...":  Emily Dickinson Tribute (4 x 6 Oval)

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