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CLIFFORD ROSS Landscape Seen & Imagined

MASS MoCA | May 23, 2015 – March 30, 2016


Transfiguring Innocence

Longinus’s eloquence on the elevation of style:
The artist transcends through previous lives of rugged yet robust
Bestowing hands and eyes.
From mountain to sea indemnity is gained in flat depth.
Whoever said Ishmael took no note of the texture of the sea!
Or took no claims from distinct members of the crew,
All drunk by the infant’s constant, milky thirst.

Across time, here while there, an orchestrated symphony of small particles
Sends forth a pixilated democracy while spreading
Two fields of spectacle across our bodies!
Sensations in this instance equate constellations of befallen
Dispersed celestial bodies
Before Pollock’s “Ocean Greyness” of deep, dark night
Of August which Faulkner would have treasured,
The magnitude of the eliding, swirling, non-conforming fluidity.

Sound speed feeds velocity, an aqueous solution from low to high,
Dissolution bounding from side to side, these waters aspire to
Massive heights, high in Harmonium Mountain where the quiet of day
Is welcomed with pastoral grace. It’s he who desires to comb
The waves with sunken tenderness. I would have thought of
Ryder’s Siegfried and the Rhine Maidens but these pictures are not
Lit by the eerie moon nor encased in an archaic crust.
And there are no Rhine River nymphs to fling back
After the theft of a magic ring. 

The vegetal high seas and their melodious waves:
Between these two healing paradises I live not in myself
But sense myself mingle with their surroundings.
“Gesture must appear out of necessity not habit,” his aunt declares!
Ultramarine blue, yellow ocher, burnt umber, viridian green,
Burnt sienna, and my favorite color, whatnot, all take chromatic reincarnations
To dovetail from this particular picturesque.
Court mountains and sea respectively:
A celebration of inversion’s blossom.

Clifford Ross, Hurricane LII, 2009. Archival pigment print, 73 × 129 in. Courtesy the artist. © Clifford Ross Studio.
Clifford Ross, Mountain XIII, 2006. Chromogenic Color Print, 75 x 130” (frame). Courtesy the artist. © Clifford Ross Studio.


Phong Bui

Phong H. Bui is the Publisher and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Rail.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2015

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