Richard Sloat, Waiting for the Train, 1990, 6/50 woodcut

 In his 14th question on beauty, entitled Grace and Seriousness, Eli Siegel asks, how, in a work of art, what is “playful, valuably mischievous, unreined and sportive” might connect and contrast with what is “serious, sincere, thoroughly meaningful, solidly valuable.” It is these factors that “interplay and meet everywhere in the lines, shapes, figures, relations, and final import” of the artwork.

      In my woodcut Waiting for the Train, the interplay of these factors is well illustrated and truly forms the major part of the “final import” of this artwork. It seems unusual that Mr. Siegel contrasts grace and seriousness in his title, for although grace can be unreined, playful, grace is often integral to seriousness. True tragedy has a somber grace.

      There is a playfulness in the forms of this woodcut. We encounter the train station and the train knotted together like a ball of snakes or elephants’ trunks. In contrast is the serious heavy feeling of waiting for a train, people and posts lined up like a watch face ticking off the slow time of anticipation. The knotted ball form is where time speeds up, people and train meet. Beyond this twist of time is grace as both the train and station, unblocked, spiral off toward a land of sunlight. We have made a journey in this print, as Eli Siegel proposes in some of his other questions, from repose to energy, from heaviness to lightness, from dark to light, and from seriousness to grace.

• Works on this site: Anuszkiewicz, Blaustein, Burckhardt, Di Cerbo, Hall, Henry, Hung, King, Kranjac, Koppelman, Longo, Michael, Rackow, Romano, Roth, Schmidt, Sloat, Stadnik

• Further Sources: Aesthetic Realism Online Library: TRO, Poetry, ReviewsEssays; Aesthetic Realism Consultations; Teaching Method K-12; Friends of Aesthetic Realism—Countering the Lies; Reviews/Critiques

• Discussions in the press & at the Terrain Gallery: Bernstein, Bruegel, da Vinci, Gee's Bend: Quilts, Guston, Homer, Indiana, Koppelman, Lange, Monet, Picasso: Dora Maar Seated, Picasso: Minotauromachy, Picasso: Guernica, Pollock, Pollock: Number One 1948, Potter, Rietveld, Sargent, Sloan, Terrain Gallery [1}, Terrain Gallery [2], Terrain Gallery [3], Velazquez, Vermeer


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