Remarks on Rebellion, DAEZLE’S Tweaker-painting-in-progress, and ‘American Gothic’
Briefly— DAEZLE is not in an ivory tower. He works forty hours a week with his hands and comes home with machine oil and grit under his fingernails. But he also paints and keeps the torch lit. He wants you to know this because he is now going to give some thoughts about certain semi-metaphysical subjects and he is afraid the discussion may descend into mist-like nonsense. But tomorrow morning he will be back repairing simple machines in a small workshop down the road.
Why Tweakers? Well, DAEZLE explores meaninglessness. He has many thoughts about this subject—and although he understands that there are plenty of real problems in this world, he believes that meaninglessness is also both a cause of misery as well as the way out to really authentic freedom and joy. How to paint such a non-thing as nothingness? A bleak landscape vis-à-vis Tanguy can lend itself to describing the wasteland of meaninglessness, but the human face and the human body are the bridge that unifies the concept to the hearts of others. DAEZLE finds so much despair and nothingness in the stare of a tweaker. So these are his subjects for now. More on that later.
All he can do is his best, and hope that something worthwhile comes out of it. Lately, DAEZLE has been contemplating the miracle of ‘American Gothic’. At first, he didn’t see much in it. But someone did, and then many people did. So DAEZLE kept looking at it. And what they all see is not at all what Grant Wood thought he was putting in there. According to Mr. Wood, he just painted an interesting house and added the “type of people that I thought would live there”. Needless to say, though, the painting outraged many a mid-western farmer and his wife (or daughter?). Naturally, when people get upset, you know you’re onto something. But the painting is about Daezle, and everyone else, not just mid-western farmers. First, just to get it out of the way, is the obvious religious overtone of the cathedralesque windows that lend the ‘Gothic’ to the title. Next, we see a puritanical attitude of repression, fear, and threat in the expressions of the two figures. The man holds a pitchfork (not unlike the Devil) and warns us away. But his stance is not manly. It is cowardly. He holds that fork like he is a terrorized new army recruit clinging for dear life to his rifle, like a baby and its security blanket. He is not vigilant and powerful, but paranoid and scared. He is not standing up for his own hard-won principles. Rather, he is merely obeying the indoctrinated law set for him by the authority that he has lazily accepted. The woman does not look at us, but waits for command from the man.
This is all of us, and I really don’t think that Mr. Wood meant it like that. But he somehow conjured forth both a universal truth and an American one. We Americans are supposed to be Rebels. The country was born of Rebellion. We are supposed to find our own way, not just accept the beliefs and ways that have been foisted upon us. The painting is clearly of a religious nature, and the solid farmer is the spiritual automaton (the non-rebel) that we are all in danger of being. That old man is in each of us, and he, the automaton, must die, and the new man or woman must be born. In this way, like America, we will be born again…. In Rebellion.
Meaning is chosen, not found.
a sketch for painting Tweaker Prince