ROOMS IN WHICH WE EXISTED
By Jake Berry and Peter Ganick
A REFLECTION BY JACK RANDOM
To believe that abstract drawings can speak in words is a form of madness that goes to the heart of artistic expression. Of course drawings speak. Of course there are words to be heard. It requires a willingness to listen and interpret and a defiance of normative values that disallow such a process.
Jake Berry is uniquely qualified to the task of interpreting abstract images. He creates in both forms – verbal and visual. In fact, he creates in all sensual forms. If it were possible to create in other forms – smell and taste and touch and forms beyond the senses – he would do that as well.
From the chaotic dream imagery of scribbled lines over lines he finds mystery and pulls at themes that touch the soul. The artist struggles to express essential truths. Sounds emerge from the cacophony. Images find meaning. Madness finds a home in the quietude of daily life. Everything has meaning and everything lies. Everything changes from form to form, from substance to substance, and finds itself reborn.
A strip of light suddenly rips across the eye, revealing far too much of who we are in what we see. The brazen light of twisted figures we’d rather not welcome into our field of play. We drown in the sea of infinite change. We have always drowned. We are drowning still and falling through time as if we had weight and exist in the finitude of space.
Dead limbs rise toward … the gloaming…
Forces greater than our imaginations can behold propel us forward, tearing us apart before allowing us to be whole and rest once again. We dream. The beauty pulls at our senses. We stumble and fall without resistance. The rapture awaits. We seek pleasure in the simplest notions.
Hear the music and see the order in delightful colors. Let it beckon us into the raging winds of fire and fury. There can be no relief. Memories exist in layers and layers over the symphony of thought and feeling, pain and sorrow, joy and forgiving.
Drink long and deep. The geography is bleeding.
The unending search for order and harmony. The chorus is missing. The dream emerges and plants itself just beyond our world of structure. A ballerina descends a winding staircase, nude and unashamed. The joy she brings is beyond word and imagery. The sorrow must follow. It is the way. Like life follows death.
The promise of a life to come.
We know by raw intuition it can never make sense. It can only offer a vision to ease our walk along the path. It is the way.
The heart has a manner of cognition the mind can never anticipate.
The explosion of the senses is inevitable. We cannot endure. There are far too much and too many stimuli. We cannot assimilate. We sleep. We dream and often we wish never to awaken. But we do awake and endure for the beauty and the wonder pull us to consciousness.
…coffee is all that matters…
We have secrets. Secret lives and secret histories. Buried children and stolen dreams. We own nothing and claim everything. We speak loudly to protect the silence. We are lost once again in the implosion of stimuli.
There is order here. There is an algorithm that describes it precisely. If we are to find our way home it is the key. But do we want to go home? Or do we want to fly in random order like a murder of crows?
Are we done with reckless supposition?
No. We are never done. Not while we still breathe the shifting winds and curse the closing darkness. Let’s get drunk and do it again!
Sleep has become a construction from which the debris of such violence hangs in a tattering wind. Who would ever want to sleep again?
We awaken and find comfort in the arms of a lover, in the smile of a child, in the warmth of a rising sun. Sing me a song, old woman. Make me alive again.
There is something greater than ourselves. There is a reason to rise and reach and journey to the sea. There is hope. There is love. There is hardship. There is trouble. There is always trouble. Death shadows behind the rocks and screeching harlots of horror. Can we escape? No but we can survive. Drink the water. We have almost reached our destiny. There is hope.
Decipher it and lose all traces of destiny.
We must suffer and we must endure.
Why are there barricades in the desert where there is nothing to protect?
It goes beyond the reach of my madness. And yet I have been here before. I have drunk from the well. I have tasted the seed. I have reached for promises that were never there. I will reach again if I am able. This much I know.
… a horse designed by Dali…
We are humans. We strive to make sense of it all. It is our nature. We take scattered events in the vacuum of time and create patterns. And from those patterns we create history and logic and structure. In the end it all makes sense.
But what is rational is convex and playful.
The child is born in writhing pain that becomes penultimate joy. The propagation of life is a tragic comedy. The dissolution of life is a comic tragedy. Time unfolds to push and pull at our cords. The books are empty, devoid of wisdom, and the worms inhabit our bloodlines. Pour me a drink and buy me some time.
You will know that compassion has found your veins.
We approach the answer though the question evades. It is there in the darkness. It is there in chorus of cicada. It is there beyond the bushes where the wild things lie.
Where the crows take them to see and be seen.
There is wisdom there but it has no words, no sight nor sound. There is truth but it has no name. If you see the Buddha kill him for she is not the Buddha.
But it was nothing a good fire couldn’t fix.
I don’t know what this is but this is important. It is the birth of religion. It is the ancient and singular truth. It is the Eye and the Bee and the Know and the Say. It is the all that is nothing. It is.
With every bright new species religion is born and the naïve eye explodes against itself.
We are rising and we have risen. We are falling and we have crashed into the depths of a dark an unknown sea. We have seen all there is to see and we have learned to crave more. It is the way.
The archaeologists will never understand the smell of gunpowder year after year and the deep carnality of an uncertain god.
The play’s the thing and only the children understand. We grow old and we lose our sense of play. We mold our worries and fears onto objects as if to give them meaning. The only meaning they have is the meaning we give to them. God bless the children. Never sacrifice your youth.
Let him sleep. Leave the poison by his bed. It is no longer necessary.
Jake Berry and Peter Ganick have given us an opus, the death and birth of a new religion as old as the barren sea. This is the ultimate message of a master who has visited many dreams and dove into infinite mysteries with the will to be lost. I don’t know about Peter but as for Jake: It is a wonder and a miracle that he has survived these great adventures to the deepest depths of knowledge and mystery to climb out of the void and bestow upon us, his readers and consumers, the meaning and the message.
This is yet another work of great genius. May he live forever.
Jack Random – Author of the Chess Series.