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Una Selva Oscura

oil on canvas
150 x 275 cm 

Notes on this work

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The dense, direct and haunting opening to Dante's Comedy:-
Just halfway through this journey of our life
I came awake to find myself inside
a dark wood, way off course, the right road lost. 
shares immediately with the reader that claustrophobia of accumulated habit and error which reveals to human beings in middle life that they have been building a trap around themselves, which, having no formal entrance, offers no apparent way out. In this image I have further developed a procedure used in several paintings from 1969 on (cf. Works/Texts to 1974 pp74-184) involving stencilled letters. With the title phrase Una Selva Oscura superimposing letters of different height so that this phrase crosses and cancels itself over and over again. Thus the title, moving in and out of phase, becomes the picture, in the manner of a fugue or canon in music. The motif, and variations onit, reppears throughout my illustrations to Dante's Inferno.

Dante's Inferno 1985 p.285 notes

See also Dante's Inferno artist's book and Una Selva Oscura tapestry in Textiles.