Eyelids, Eyes & Other Studies
I know I’m rolling when I’m painting inside a metaphor. The eyelid has been a favorite for many years. After all, what is an eyelid? A beautiful surface that is also visceral, a flap of skin, a membrane—it’s fragile, yet designed to protect something even more so. It’s formless, taking its shapefrom the thing it covers. When closed, dry covering wet, I imagine the fluid beneath compressing, sliding
downward. It functions as opaque but is translucent from the inside, light glowing through, and transparent from the outside, tiny blood vessels on view just under the surface. Stare at a shut eyelid and see pure passivity; but suddenly open—we’re shocked.
I want my paintings to function like an eyelid, veering from dry to wet, inside to outside, opaque to transparent, form to formless, mute to aggressive, space curved outward toward the viewer, held in by
fragile surface tension, the picture plane as membrane, the entire painting an eyelid.
--From “The Eyelid as Metaphor,” The Tilted Arc, 2015