Paintings            GARY BARTEN
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Main Rag Annual (Act Curtains for the New Year 2019)
An old name for the ‘act curtain’ in a theater, the” Main Rag” isn’t in use much these days. But like the old man of the new year trading places with a baby, the ‘main rag’ suggests both the old and new. A certain amount of wear and tear will almost always be found in the drapery of the theater, even though lighting and the seeming luxury of the fabric may hide it. Like the old man of the previous year, that wear and tear of experience or use help to describe the passage of time and its inevitable effects or proof of age.

When the curtain is drawn back, we experience a momentary lapse across most of our active circuits that is part of the ‘suspension of disbelief’ of theater. Whatever the curtain reveals may take time – like our path into the new year – to establish patterns of recognition and new ways of understanding what is unfolding. But, like the curtain’s opening in theater, the new year also reveals opportunities to witness things we’ve yet to experience.

Our expectations of books we reread change as we take in old information in a new way. So, even if some of the new year is a continuation of last year’s rituals, obligations, or schedules, there is always a portion in what will happen that is either less familiar or comes at us from a different angle. People that we think we know well may be recast in the new year and we will need to become reacquainted in the coming months. We have changed, and our mental filters, processes and references have changed as well. Our reactions are those of a person who is one year older so that when the main rag opens, we can expect to be surprised.
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