Russell Gordon’s Message in a bottle stopped me dead in my tracks this morning when I arrived at the gallery. I had spent the entire flight back from Portsmouth reading Mark Helprin’s new book, Digital Barbarians, which deals with copyright law and the hijacking of reason via rampant viral misrepresentation of facts and disregard for the rule of law. In Helprin’s book, he talks about cherishing paper and pen & the tactile luxury of slower non-digital communication. I had viewed Russell Gordon’s painting via electronic jpeg in very fine resolution on a good monitor. Nothing prepared me for how exquisite the original work is; the poetic symbolism of the paper rolled in the bottle, glowing back at me. I smiled as I realized the meaning behind the centuries old masterful technique employed by Russell, and how much joy it brought me. Then as I wandered about the gallery, I understood the meaning behind many of the works, the message in the bottle as it were, layers and layers of knowledge giving us the whole body of their learning through today’s modern masters’ employment of the techniques and understanding gleaned from thousands of years of art. I found it so ironic that the medium I share this with you is digital, the way I learned about Russell Gordon is digital, but the sheer joy of experiencing the painting in person, live, looking at all the layers of glaze refracting light and luminosity is the polar opposite of virtual. It is so real it makes you ache and lingers in your mind’s eye for days. Come in and visit us soon if you can, enjoy these master works for your self. We are fortunate enough to have four of his wonderful paintings and a fifth on the way.
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