Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Painting, cooking, alchemy--

detail, "The House Opposite," Leonora Carrington

from Susan L. Aberth, Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art.

The relation of cooking and art production, according to Chadwick, is of central concern to the artist:
The prominent place given to the cauldron in Celtic myth and Grail legend had long fascinated Carrington, as had alchemical descriptions of the gentle cooking of substances placed in egg-shaped vessels. She has related alchemical processes to those of both painting and cooking, carefully selecting a metaphor that unites the traditional woman's occupation as nourisher of the species with that of the magical transformation of form and color that takes place in the artist's creative process, nourishing the spirit (pp. 68-69).

8 comments:

  1. Love this quote! Of course I'm biased... :-)

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    1. A life without any bias toward things you love is probably a bored one... So fine!

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  2. Going in a different direction, I would say that cooking (when I do it) is a bit like alchemy in reverse -- turning otherwise golden materials into somewhat inedible dross. My wife will admit that her cooking is not much better. So, we most often eat out, rely upon take-out, and cook only meals that go from freezer to microwave to table in a few minutes. For example, tonight is probably Chinese takeout. Golden!

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    1. My husband is a very good cook and does most of the dinner meals. I would have fewer books if he had not had such a liking for the kitchen.

      I used to get Chinese takeout at a place on Lark St. in Albany that later closed . . . turned out they were serving up rats and guinea pigs and cats. Tasted good to me! Of course, I was pregnant and hungry... Our local Chinese place is the Foo Kin John, whose name delights middle schoolers.

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  3. How wonderful. My father loved three things which he felt were transformative and which he did equally well: write poetry, dance ballet, and cook. His meals were most legendary -- though as a child I did not appreciate the perfectly cook roast beef sandwich with home made mayonnaise in my school lunch and was known to trade it for bologna on wonderbread. His poetry was full of food and dance, and even when he wrote at length about translating poetry, it was always the food images he chose as examples of finding the correct word to express the same sentiment.

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    1. Oh, that's a good fit for the passage! Lovely that they all threaded together so well.

      Our boys have never appreciated the range of their father's cooking, but our daughter will eat anything.

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  4. I used to love cooking. The more I write, the less I cook, and the less I want to cook.

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    1. I seldom cook now, though I used to like it as well. But now I seem to be overwhelmed by things to do, and my husband is a great cook and likes to cook.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.