the process is the artwork

Ad portas inferi!

RFTBAC | Ad Portas Inferi

Work in progress in my studio + charging nine magic hand-crafted wax candles (one for each circle of Dante’s Inferno), for the group show Inferno at the Pristine Gallery in Monterrey, Mexico this month.

“Do you boys know of Isaiah 38:10?

Sheldon thought hard; Mead sat with iron-faced stubbornness, purposefully not thinking about whether he did know it.
“‘Ego dixi: In dimidio dierum meorum vadam ad portas inferi’!” Lowell crowed, then rushed to his crowded bookshelves, where somehow he instantly found the cited chapter and verse in a Latin Bible. “You see?” he asked, placing it open on the rug at the foot of his students, most delighted to show that he had remembered the quote exactly.

“Shall I translate?” Lowell asked. ” ‘I say: In the midst of my days I shall go to the gates of hell.’ Is there anything our old Scripture writers didn’t think of? Sometime in the middle of our lives, we all, each one of us, journey to face a Hell of our own. What is the very first line of Dante’s poem?”

“‘Midway through the journey of our life,’ ” Edward Sheldon volunteered happily, having read that opening salvo of Inferno again and again in his room at Stoughton Hall, never having been so ambushed by any verse of poetry, so emboldened by another’s cry.” ‘I found myself in a dark wood, for the correct path had been lost.’ ”

“‘Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita. Midway through the journey of our life,’ ” Lowell repeated with such a wide glare in the direction of his fireplace that Sheldon glanced over his shoulder, thinking pretty Mabel Lowell must have entered behind him, but her shadow showed her still sitting in the adjoining room.” ‘Our life.’ From the very first line of Dante’s poem, we are involved in the journey, we are taking the pilgrimage as much as he is, and we must face our Hell as squarely as Dante faces his. You see that the poem’s great and lasting value is as the autobiography of a human soul. Yours and mine, it may be, just as much as Dante’s.” (1)

(1) Matthew Pearl. 2006. The Dante Club. Ballantine Books (Reprint Edition, June 27, 2006).

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