Paintings            GARY BARTEN
Chapters of a Storied Oblivion - Cyclical Passagedetail - Chapters of a Storied Oblivion - Cyclical PassageChapters of a Storied Oblivion - Island Dockdetail - Chapters of a Storied Oblivion - Island DockChapters of a Storied Oblivion - Vault and Carrydetail - Chapters of a Storied Oblivion - Vault and CarryStudy for Chapters of a Storied Obliviondetail - Study for Chapters of a Storied OblivionCarried Over
Chapters of a Storied Oblivion
“You can’t take it with you.”

Now, if I only had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that I might …
But then what is the accumulation that we are charged to aspire to going to amount to if we can’t …
“Your money, or your life!”, threatens the mugger. “My life! I need my money for my old age.”
So, you might as well spend it when you get there, because we all know that you can’t take it with you.

That’s the material side of it. But what about the immaterial side, the psychology of the self, the soul, the autobiographical reputation? Isn’t there a similar weighing of its value somehow, like those ancient Egyptian frescoes that show the individual weighed against a feather? Surely those twilight years are more significant than a featherweight recasting. Remember the time that … And just look at us now! Still alive and well and moving into those tales of our yesteryear, the storied ramp towards oblivion.

Who gets to design the edifice around the ramp? How much detail can we arrange artfully on the façade of each passing storied structure? What does our personal ‘house of fortune’ look like as we recall and then reconstruct brick by brick a wind and weather-proof legacy? What other materials from the archive will endure and give us assurance of their resilience and longevity? Are they among the supplies we’ve warehoused over the years or when we search for them now, have they already been used up? Gazing back down the ramp are the best kept buildings back there, solid in hindsight? Or is there a trove to work with and give even more height, weight, and substance to the work we are constructing in our storied endtime?

“Who the hell cares anyway?” is hand-lettered on a Fun House façade flanked by a running wall of these pages in wood, concrete, and glass. Like an accordion style book time unfolds itself zig-zagging from the past to the future. Two walls on the left and right of the ramp command our attention and we oblige turning our head from side to side – the gesture of ‘no’. ‘No’, it isn’t true that nobody cares. Why would our remembered fictions be hauled out at story-time if nobody was interested? Of course, they are! And there they all are reflected in the glass of each window on the way to here. You remember them and they are listening, watching, making sure that the details include them too. A ceremony is called for.

Somebody has to provide the balancing scales and somebody has to bring the feather too. Just like in the ancient past, there is always an audience for these storied times and we all get to have our own little assessing ceremony as well, before it’s too late.
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