les bluets Joan Mitchell, Les Bluets, 1973.

‘Then again maybe it does feel like fire – the blue core of it, not the theatrical orange crackling. I have spent a lot of time staring at this core in my own “dark chamber”, and I can testify that it provides an excellent example of how blue gives way to darkness – and then how without warning, the darkness grows up into a cone of light.’ – from Bluets, Maggie Nelson, 56.

‘I start with the fact that Les Bluets (The cornflowers) is the painting I think of first when I think of one that has had particular significance in my life. Then I have to figure out why. I am not even certain that Les Bluets was the actual painting I saw. What I did see was a very large white and blue painting by Joan Mitchell in her studio more than forty-five years ago, and that is the one I am thinking of…

…Eventually I began to find answers to my questions, but they were not complete answers, and after a time I did not feel the need for complete answers, because I saw that part of the force of the painting was that it continued to elude explanation. I became willing to allow aspects of the painting to remain mysterious, and I became willing to allow aspects of other problems to remain unsolved as well, and it was this new tolerance for, and then satisfaction in, the unexplained and unsolved that marked a change in me.’ – from Lydia Davis’ beautiful short essay on the impact of Mitchell’s painting on her,'”Les Bluets”, 1973′.


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