• Zelene Schlosberg

Explaining "Slam"

Updated: Mar 24, 2019

This essay of Zelene was initially published in NUE magazine 2015 Fall                    http://issuu.com/nuemagazine/docs/nue_fall_2015

Slam, 42x56 inches, Mixed media on canvas, 2015

It seems to me at times my blood flows out in waves  Like a fountain that gushes in rhythmical sobs.  I hear it clearly, escaping with long murmurs,  But I feel my body in vain to find the wound.

​--- Charles Baudelaire, "The Fountain of Blood"

The huge black door opened. I felt minuscule in front of it. I had nothing but tubes of paint, a canvas, and a roll of yarn. The emotion was strong, but the image at that point was unclear. I remembered the words of Karl Jaspers: "Humans can only attempt to grasp authentic being by action, decision, a leap of faith.”

I like yarn; it is linear and flexible. Even though yarn is material, it seems to have a soul. Yarn dances and talks. I put its slim body on the canvas according its whim. I paint over it and bury it, thinking about all it can symbolize: population explosion, traffic jam, homeless, people, child labor, human trafficking, climate change, war, separation...but with a rhythm. I could not get rid of the images of hundreds of banners in my grandfather's huge funeral; they danced so vividly and beautifully in the wind.

Colors are monsters. Colors scream and run with shackles. I try to unlock them. I run after them while I also lead them. Colors fall and crash, yet they are more at ease once immersed within the canvas. They are still alive, with the mark of motions. They are wet; they gradually dry in the wind.

I heard sounds. I heard music. I weaved them in multiple layers. I saw hammers hammering nails non-stop. I saw a couple entwined, I saw a whip with a horse’s body. I used lines like waving fabrics to create cells and build architectonic forces, which see both dark and light, imagination and limitation.

Time stood still when I painted, but the finished canvas communicated the depth and length of the labor. The canvas became full, and images emerged from a seeming void. The door was gradually closing at first, ending with a slam.

I was drenched in sweat, exhausted. I washed my paint-encrusted hands, and returned to the mundane.

Zelene Schlosberg in River West, Chicago 2015