Mixed media on Canvas
30” x 30”
Inspired by the poem "The Hours on Saturday" by Josepha Gutelius
THE HOURS ON SATURDAY
Saturday morning. Ten-thirty. The slow sway of cattails. I was looking out at the pond,
worried about the blue heron that was stealing the carp.
I’m all ears, she tells me. Or she would have, if I had called her. Sometimes I didn’t want
to hear my voice, part steely interrogator, part like a night crab jerks around and she can’t
get a word in. Eleven o’clock. The day is big if one bloodied shirt
can interrupt the radio. Shirt = laundry, you know where that’s headed.
I did a load of clothes before I remembered
I wanted to call her. I sat with my dogs’ crowded yelps, the phone in my hand.
It’s good, I’ll tell her, all good.
No I’ll call her after. —Always something, isn’t there? —
my entire lifetime is watered with faltering. I called another friend first and talked too long.
How my life has shrunk. I was so tired of being tied to the phone.
One-thirty. Fierce sweeps of rain. Tires going what-what. No, I didn’t call her. The wind
plucked the grocery
list from my hand. —Yup, I was out shopping. — Tongue hanging out of a worn-out sneaker. Oh,
the things we remember.
And I was feeling awfully beat when I got home, awful, like I’d spent the last three hours
fighting off mobs.
Now I really must call her, not later. Now.
Three-thirty. Last dregs of mint leaves at the bottom
of my glass: Why this hint of sad endings?
I was remembering some funny things she told me. Like, her great-great-great was a
bespectacled cloud. Her great-great was a dot in the center of soup. Her father was a fringe of a
beard history licked off. Her raven mother.... More memories coming round the back...
Four o’clock. Still haven’t called her. An earthquake arrives in the mail, loopy scrawls slipknot
into sudden fissures: World, what did you announce?
We all share the same numbers, for instance everyone knows what one means, she wrote. I am
one, you are one, one world, she wrote.
I almost was ready to pick up the phone. My tongue slapping from rut to rut.
So many things to rock my world. Hello? Hello? How you holding up, I would have asked her.
— For Charlotte
Saturday, 4 p.m. CBS News: An elderly woman identified as Charlotte Hahn Arner, a Holocaust survivor, was killed tragically in a fire that broke out in her home this afternoon.
— © Josepha Gutelius
Painting for me is a constant, energizing connecting of opposites -- place/displacement, certainty/mystery. As a former playwright, I tend to see the figures in my paintings as characters with an implied before and after, where “beingness” itself is relational and in flux. My primary interest is to capture layers of consciousness, the precarious balance of time/ timelessness, the overlap of memories. I usually work in series, with different subject matter brought together under one theme, such as “School Days,” “The Shape of Water,” “Silence of Nowhere.”In my latest series, I’ve focused entirely on the narrative of masculinity -- men clothed, naked, solid, disintegrating. While male painters have traditionally objectified women as sirens, muses, demons, mothers, etc. I am reaching for a holistic depiction of maleness, not as “mankind” but as a specific gender in a state of disarray and off-balance, which reflects my feelings of where I stand today as a female (feminist) artist looking at men-- an anxious stance. In my series “Silence of Nowhere,” I’m capturing the sense of expectancy, of looking outward, but also searching from within. My practice often involves taking the same scene and varying it slightly in different panels, like frames of a film, to signify the passage of time. I start with ink or charcoal and add thin layers of acrylic and watch a drama unfold.