Structure & Coherence:
Thoughts on Remedios Varo's Creation of The Birds



Remedios Varo. Creation of The Birds (1957)
The title of this Remedios Varo 1957 painting is Creation of The Birds. However, it says all sorts of things to me about writers and writing.

In some important sense, writers must be night owls. And, successful written creations take wings—they fly—just like all these birds that are fluttering off the pen of the Owl Artist. True, documents about the function of prestressed concrete in interstate highways may not be able to get off the ground . . .

Notice the three primary sources of the Owl Artist's work. One source is the heavens, whose emanations she nonchalantly refracts through some sort of prism in her left hand right onto the document she is writing. Another is her heart, which here is a violin hooked up directly to the hand she uses to write with (and properly so). The third is something internal—from the building itself, the structure, the environment, the physical world in which she finds herself. I may be on the wrong track here: the vista outside that portal on the left side of the room may also be the heavens also. Then again, it may be a mountain or hill side—nature itself! Notice how the emanations from these more worldly sources are distilled through an apparatus that looks for all the world like a comical moonshine distillery. Well, that makes sense too when it comes to the creation of birds or—for that matter—verbal art. Still more, the worldly distilling device oozes red, yellow, and blue colors onto the Owl Artist's palette, very much like the tubes of colors painters use. The distilling device makes me think of the aestheticians who talk about how artists transform reality to present it in their media. The distilling device makes me think of R2D2, some bizarre mechanism that we cannot understand but rely on nonetheless—a mechanism that is frankly amusing if not downright funny. Even so, it's these resources and perhaps those from the heavens as well that give us inklings of the structure and organization of the verbal works that we try to produce. That's the effort of this website: to explore those inklings.

If I'm not mistaken, the Owl Artist's eyes are closed: she's either asleep or in some sort of trance, receiving those emanations from nature and from the heavens.

Beyond this, I am joyfully baffled by this wonderful work of art. My weak imagination cannot grasp what may be going on with the mutually filling vases on the wall behind the Owl Artist; nor can I imagine what the funny little chest with the horn-like funnel is about, sitting back there against the wall. That chest, I keep wanting to think is one of those old radiating-type heaters. But that's a stretch. And of course, everything I've expressed to this point may be a stretch.

I think I need to make a pilgrimage to this painting . . .

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