Cocktail Of The Week: The Deluge
Visual communication is not unlike other forms of communication in that it is created, displayed and received in a form that has be to intelligible to the viewer. I’ve always been of the belief that there is an alchemy in creation that goes on between the artist, the creative experience itself, and the viewer; all necessary to the totality of the work. With paintings of earlier centuries, the painting was invariably a picture of something: a family group, a landscape, a Biblical parable, and with the general populace’s viewing, the sentiment was easily perceived and expressed. "That’s a church!" So it was for the most part in my visit to the National Gallery, trying to catch the last weekend of their Turner Exhibition. “Look at that wave.” “Look at that man’s hanging upside down from the ship.”
There’s something about observing art while standing in a throng. You have others perceptions thrust upon you unwillingly, both visually and verbally. I stood next to two Italian men happily videoing the paintings under a written “No Photographing The Paintings” caution and oblivious guards. And the pushing peanut gallery. “Look at the sharp nose of that woman. That person has a sharp nose too. He gave them all sharp noses.” A ship is busting apart at the seams, but look at the schnozes on those people. You are studying a brush stroke of white trying to understand how Turner captured the essence of wave turbulence, but ear to brain and your eyes are shifting from nose to nose to nose.
It’s always been of interest to me to study the progress of an artist’s skill and how often as the artist ages, (and presumably advances in technique,) that they pursue their expression in a more abstract manner. Michelangelo's last sculpture of the Rondanini Pieta comes to mind. Turner was no exception and all of those earlier painstaking droplets of water give way to smears of light and dark. Later in his career, Turner expressed a pronounced interest in color theory. He read a 1810 treatise by Goethe in an English translation (1840) annotating his copy with many comments and especially fascinated by Goethe’s associations of cool blues and grays with negative emotion and weakness, while warm red and yellow tones reflected more positive, active states. Commonplace beliefs now, but rather revolutionary then. Turner explored this contrast of cool and warm colors in a pair of pictures on the theme of the Biblical flood in The Angel Standing in the Sun and The Evening of the Deluge. Leaving that steerage hold of culture seeking humanity in the Gallery, I headed for a bar, newly inspired.
The Deluge Cocktail
1 part Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 part Vodka
½ part Lime Juice
1 part Cherry
1 part Grenadine
Layer ingredients for that Turner active glow, but mix them if you want to be able to drink this concoction. Otherwise, it will be way too tart... but it will look fabulous. Capsize a cherry into it, and think of Turner’s warships sinking in their turbulent seas.
Après Moi, Le Deluge *
Thanks to the bartending magic of Chris at Martin’s Tavern for his enthusiasm and skills.