M and I played hookey on Wednesday, and went to the MOMA for the day. Both boys were in school, M still has no work (not a good thing at all, tho he's getting lots of studio time which is nice), and his badge from MASS MoCA gets him and a guest into any museum for free. Not a bad deal in a $20/person town like this one!
There's a special exhibit running there on Van Gogh, called Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night. It focuses on his night paintings, both indoor and outdoor. They span his 10-year painting career from 1880 to 1890, and A couple of them utterly captivated me. Part of it is the undercurrent longing I've got for being more connected to the earth, and working for a living more than a lifestyle. His studies of the working poor and the farmers and laborers really suited my mood. The first room had this painting as one of the main features, and looking at it brought tears to my eyes. Of course I felt self-conscious and quelled it asap, but there was no denying the feeling of complete longing to be in that scene at that moment. Rest after a day of work, simplicity, my absolutely favorite time of day, and the light in the window. The feeling he was able to put into the canvas isn't done justice in this photo at all, it's a very dark painting and the colors are subtle and hard to photograph. This was the best image I could find online, but it's still not giving the true feel.
He was a Protestant preacher (after his father was a Dutch Reformed minister) before becoming an artist, his brother supported him through his entire career, and he only sold one painting (to his brother) in his lifetime. Trying to decipher his life, thoughts, and feelings from the work and the few details in the gallery was fascinating. It also made me understand M and his work a bit better, though I doubt I'll be getting any ears in the mail any day soon. The passion and sensitivity make for a pretty potent cocktail. Getting lost in a painting, or more accurately lost in the feeling that you're trying to convey in the painting ... I'm getting glimpses of the power of the passion.