Holding Back the Night
The question for modernity is how do we define ourselves in the existential reality of the 21st century. Without the ancient myths are we not just an infinitesimal moment of consciousness in a sea of infinity. God as a definable form, a visual entity in space, is nowhere to be seen. The question of life and death has become a terrible dread … a void of no consequences.
So how do we hold back the anxiety of this night? That was the question proposed by a deranged homeless man on a subway train. He had dreamed that God had spoken to him and told him “don’t you know that you shine? You shine so bright that I want you to hold back the night.” But the homeless man cried that he ‘could not shine and that he could not hold back the night because this material world had gotten him down.’
How desperately true this mad black prophet of the underground plea has become for us in the world of modernity where the fusions of the material reality cannot be mended. Albert Camus had predicted this more than fifty years ago. We are the infinite spirit in a finite body. There seems to be no space in the world for the spiritual … there is no myth of who we are and what we will become … only the reactionary fatalism of the avenging angels of death.
So the question for us in this post-modern world will be how do we hold back the night … or better phrased … how do we have the courage to hold back the blackness of this dreamless world?
The series of five paintings titled “Holding Back The Night” is my visual journey into this existential question, the heroic myth of holding back the night. It is based on the courage to be, courage, in spite of all the evidence that our being is only an illusion. Even if we are only a biological entity in a hostile world where life and death may have no consequences our very existence speaks for itself. And with this courage to be, we have challenged reality. We place ourselves in front of the great void … the emptiness of death, dread and despair … and demand our recognition. This is what makes us noble … and worthy of God’s consciousness … we dare to defy these terms of our biological reality.