Tuesday, April 18, 2023

I have two large paintings on my wall that my brother did maybe twenty years ago now. The first is mainly white wash with a tinge of blue at the top, vast cloudy sky, with a little bit of forested mountain landscape at the bottom rising toward the left, with deliberate fake pareidolia effects in the trees - here a stylized christmas tree complete with star on top, there most of the word "help", the outline of a poodle, others - "really there" in the mass of painted trees but done in imitation of how a real mass of trees will look like things that aren't there. To the left, rising up from the mountain well over the treeline, is a catherine wheel, slightly smudged at the edge, possibly by accident but left uncorrected. To the right, behind the mountain, looms perhaps another mountain, but bare, dark gray, of an oddly regular dome shape - or perhaps, given the slight shading, a foreshortened cone. Very high up in the sky, close to the top of the canvas, center-left, misty with distance, is an airplane, possibly a fighter jet. Lower, about medium high, to the right, larger (closer?) is a UFO, a flying saucer.

The second painting, notably but not extremely larger, takes up the gray of the dome/cone and covers the canvas with it. It is in fact a "blowup" of a portion of the first painting revealing, as in a blowup of one of those famous UFO evidence photographs, a hitherto unseen second UFO hovering against the mysterious gray dome/cone. What represented a tree in the first painting's foreground is enlarged and, as we see the graininess in a blown-up detail of a photograph, the "tree" is seen now as a number of disjointed brushstrokes (themselves of course made up of brushstrokes). And in the texture of these blown-up brushstrokes are more hints at faked pareidolia, though less definable here - some figure eights or infinity signs? is that the word "Hi"? maybe the outline of a bird?

It's a witticism of course, a joke, a sort of juvenile (he was very young when he painted them after all) meta-ness, but/and so as to be a kind of commentary or at least call for commentary on evidence and belief and truth. I like having them on my walls because I go back and forth on whether I think they're deep or dumb, and whether I "agree" with them or find them offensive - especially considering I personally hold to be true many things my brother thinks are crazy "conspiracy theories" based on nothing more than blown-up brushstrokes and (perhaps, planted) pareidolia. But they're also a reminder, to think, in general. I also like having them because I like my brother even though he's annoying.