Monday, August 25, 2008

La Rostra

4.67 miles in 34 min 48 secs (7:27 min/mile)
A bit of speed work at Circo Massimo: 3 x 360m at around 70 seconds per interval.

The first time I visited Rome, in March 2000, I was really impressed by the reiteration of a peculiar nautical form—
the rostra (or prow) of an ancient war vessel. It was poking out of innumerable surfaces—lamp posts, the sides of buildings, columns—many public surfaces which gained from the reminiscence of Roman invincibility.

When I returned to Rome last summer to begin my two-year gig with the program my old fascination was revived and the rostre became emblematic of the sort of conflict between being here and there (Italy and the US) young and old. I explored it for a while and was very dissatisfied with every attempt, but with a little space and time I've tried again to resolve some of the old sketches. A lot of the tension of the original idea is sort of missing in these three paintings because I'm no longer feeling such intense conflict. This is a reminder that work is work, not egocentric therapy, and painting is often not a solution to problems, at least not in the immediate sense.

Time to leave well enough alone.

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