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  • Writer's pictureZelene Schlosberg

Explaining "Slam"

Updated: Mar 24, 2019

This essay of Zelene was initially published in NUE magazine 2015 Fall          

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


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