The ‘Poems’ series considers the affective quality of poetry upon the mind, not as words but their synesthetic correspondences in colour. Viewing poetry as brief bursts of intense affect within the constraints of form, ‘Poems’ cuts out the central flesh of the poem and replaces it with representative and affective colours and movements. ‘New Hampshire’, for instance, shows the loose form and movement upwards from the tree in colours of spring, fading into the nothingness of ‘the heart of light, the silence’. ‘Prufrock’ echoes the yellow fogs and harsh half-lights of the poem, blurring insidiously into both background and foreground of Prufrock’s life. ‘Elizabeth and Leicester’ takes from the colours of Turner’s ‘Dido Building Carthage’, interrupted by a strained terracotta, documenting the journey of Elizabeth and Leicester down to the shallow water of the river daughters. The other half of the canvases break out from the forms of the poems entirely – ‘Come in Under’ offers the abstract of Eliot’s red-twilight in The Waste Land, a world among the mountains which offer a narrow path among themselves for reader to traverse. ‘In among the lilies’ shows the abstracted face of Maud as imagined by the narrator – partly itself a disconnected, uncertain and vivid environment, prone to decay and distortion, partly haloed flesh. Finally she is a red mouth, opened and bloodied by the narrator and narrative. The larger of the ‘Maud’ paintings retains the stanzaic form, driven with the shouting of a voice through the narrative. What is spoken of and what is perceived in the outside world becomes entwined, narrator and narrative world merging into one vividly constructed anxiety of the perceived.
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