I’m carrying two sequences, one seen the day before yesterday on the drive here holds the key to a space I’ve been striving for, a space of movement. The other I woke up with a few hours ago jolted suddenly out of a dream.
I’m rarely delivered out of a dream with a scene or story. More likely is the sensation of an ending; a movement that’s just occurred, too late to be absorbed. It’s a story I’m excluded from – no picture window, a peering sideways. So it was a few hours ago I woke with the movement of a door closing, an enormous door that clanged into place. It may have been preceded by a thought of my father and his early loss of both parents, but as I remember it, the door closed first then the thought and with it the finality clanging down the years of a past sealed off.
In our new lives are two weekly three hour drives between Brisbane and Stanthorpe. Yesterday on the westward journey I saw a cloud marking a hill we were passing. The cloud was low and long, it was twinned to the length of a horizontal ridge line in an area of sudden escarpments, of landscape ready to lift into clouds. What held me were the subtle unfolding spaces beneath the tracking cloud. The sheer, shadowy horizon slowly revealed at one end a cliff of vertical rock ledges and at the other a receding forest curving away to the edged sky. A transformation from side elevation to isometric cutaway plane inflected partially by the shadow of a cloud.
The shed in which all our things are packed is on a hillside half a kilometre from the house where we now live four days a week. It’s a scary experience opening the tiltadoor to 64 square metres packed with past life rushing to meet the lifting gate.
Surrounding this shed is a forest flitting with shadows. Stringybark eucalypts twisting upwards, losing edges in tufty bark. Undulating lines lead the eye with animated Jerks and loops through the dappled space. At once alluring and frightening, a spectral, tall and crowded space ultimately twining shed and forest towards a psychic point.
In the Stanthorpe house hanging above the bed is a large mural painting of a battle, a 19th century Persian tableau once hung on street corners, a formulaic composition used to teach a religious story. Two central horse and riders intertwine, one slicing through the other with a curved sword. This curve is inverted and realigned repeatedly in the horse and flowing tunics making a chop and flow within an oceanic swell, it’s edged with crowds of tiny figures, the stakes of battle, in the process of being roasted in hell or witnesses to a martyrdom. This crammed, difficult and archaic composition is only alleviated in the view from below, upside down and extremely foreshortened.