Peniel

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Peniel, 1960 183 x 127 cm

On the front of the canvas:
“Let me go for the day breaketh.” (Genesis 32:26)

The Visionary Symbolic

“The first significant painting . . . was a rather dark abstract called Peniel – a brooding picture which hates to be hung in even remote proximity to anything else.”
David G. Taylor, The Winnowed Field – a brief family history

Peniel (1960) has a raw textural energy, Goya-like in its classical atmosphere and intensity. The lines and rhythms project a sense of mystery and of a spiritual meta-world as the dark muscular colouration depicts the struggle that Jacob had in Genesis 32:26. For Jacob, Peniel is the place of revelation whereon the forces with which he struggles are recognized to be divine. This “place of revelation” belongs to the painter, the viewer and to its own spiritual dimension. Its world is unquantifiable, immeasurable and immaterial. The primordial struggle expressed in Peniel visually goes beyond abstraction or figuration. Life and art are at odds in this narrative. Their resolution is the artist’s goal. The vision here is a Blakean* world of angelic and demonic energies where the demonic is perceived as both disruptive and creative.

*“Northrop Frye’s book on Blake [Fearful Symmetry] is some- thing I devour – praised as it is by Dame Edith Sitwell as a book ‘fiery in its understanding.’”
David G. Taylor, The Winnowed Field – a brief family history

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