Matisse Presentations Trump Last Sunday Poets

Conflicts occasionally happen.  This would normally be my day for the Bloomington Writers Guild’s Last Sundays poetry (cf. March 30, et al.) but, as luck would have it, the Indiana University Art Museum was holding a “Matisse in Focus” lecture in conjunction with their “Matisse’s Jazz and Other Works from IU Collections,” followed by an IU Cinema presentation of A GREAT FRENCH PAINTER:  HENRI MATISSE (1946, directed by François Campaux) and A MODEL FOR MATISSE (2003, dir. Barbara Freed).  For various reasons I chose the art, mainly because of an emphasis not so much on the finished art but of the creative process.  This is something I wonder about myself in terms of creating fiction and poetry and I find that looking at it from the perspective of other disciplines can sometimes give me insights I wouldn’t find elsewhere.  An example of sorts is the title story of THE TEARS OF ISIS, written almost two decades ago, in which I followed a fictional sculptress’s quest for inspiration for her next work, in the process of which I hoped to work through some questions I had been having myself at the time concerning the nature of  inspiration.

The lecture and the films were quite interesting, especially A MODEL FOR MATISSE about Matisse’s final masterpiece, the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, a town in southern France, as well as his relation with Dominican Sister Jacques-Marie who both inspired and assisted him on the project.  (A note of interest on the other film though:  It has rarely been seen in the U.S., in part because it’s in French and has never been dubbed or subtitled — except for this version which local associate French Studies professor Brett Bowles provided a special translation for.  One of the advantages of being in a university town!)  Much of what I get out of these may not come for days or weeks, but I think my choice — in spite of foregoing the poetry for this month — was the right one to make.

I had intended to walk back to the museum after the films, but a storm was threatening when I got out so I went directly home instead, but reveling in the muted light of haze and clouds over sun and, once there (and it looking more like the storm wouldn’t hit, a least for the moment), a “new” look at the periwinkle just up in the front yard and, behind the house, an almost-blooming redbud and other trees, including cherry trees only now growing new leaves.  So for now I’ll plan to get back to the museum sometime in the next few days (Wednesdays are usually not too busy — not a reference to the resident cave cat) and, for the spoken word, there’s the First Sundays prose reading coming up next week.


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