Sunday, June 8, 2008

Stained Glass Iris and Oskar Kokoschka

On Thursday, my next door neighbor brought me a fantastic purple and white mottled iris. It was impossible to stop staring at this towering beauty. I admired it from every angle, both in daylight and indoors. I discovered that the weak light of a card flashlight, aimed up through the petals at varying distances, created an abstract, stained glass effect. Check out the sugared stripes, the navy blue clouds, the twisting purple shadows. I like the contrast of the furry yellow center to the satiny swirls. There's almost a topographic pattern here, yet currents seem to move through the flattened image, drawing the eye in endless loops through the stilled flower.

I'm tempted to get out my pen and India ink to translate these images into a third interpretation of an iris. These gorgeous colors are magnetic, but the shapes alone hold their own ... as do the intricate patterns and paths. And perhaps more words? Another poetic take on the flower? (See the 5/17/08 post, "Somewhere Between Lilacs and Honeysuckle," to read "Lavender Cathedral," an earlier poem based on the iris.) Possibilities radiate from this flower, captive only in a photograph, which by Saturday was no more than a sticky knuckle on a stem.

I knew this iris image reminded me of something! The name Oskar Kokoschka just fluttered into my mind. He was an Austrian painter, poet and playwright. I couldn't remember the name of the painting swirling in my memory, but after doing a search for Kokoschka, the famous piece came up immediately: Bride of the Wind , also known as The Tempest, painted in 1913. (Click on the title to view the art and read about Kokoschka.) It represents his passionate love for Alma Mahler, the widow of Gustav Mahler. Back in time, I actually bought a used copy of the movie about Alma Mahler and this relationship, also called Bride of the Wind (2001).

Photos of iris taken 6/5/08. Click on images to enlarge.


Cynthia said...

Equisite, how lucky you are so have such a generous neighbor!
Like a finely folded oragami art
piece, the pleats and the colors,
passion purple and beautiful deep

Christine said...

True! Thanks for your poetic response, Cynthia.