THE FOUR QUARTETS: Shane Guffogg

2013-2015

At the Still Point

The Four Quartets

Shane Guffogg
September, 2016

Thoughts become words – words have meanings that define thought; a brushstroke is a thought. It takes countless brushstrokes to make an image that can potentially be read like a word. I am forever dancing with the invisible, trying to entice it into manifesting into my/our world. Thoughts and words can be guides for how the invisible is to enter into our dimension of time and space. The words of T. S. Eliot's poem, "The Four Quartets" set the stage for my hand and mind to become one, entering into a hypnotic rhythm that pulsates between the background, middle ground, and foreground – the past, present, and future.

His words, like all great art, open my mind to the possibilities of seeing the invisible. He speaks of stillness that is without time, and time that is without space. He writes, "To be conscious is not to be in time" and "Only through time time is conquered." He speaks of the constraints of our physical bodies that are trapped in this three-dimensional space that is marked off like a football field by time. How do we transcend the very limitations that make us human? He writes, "Investing form with lucid stillness." That is my clue, and I might even say cue, to paint with hopes of summoning all thoughts that have ever been and converse with them through lines and color. Such a simple idea, yet so complex that I need T. S. Eliot's words to guide me through a moment, which he so beautifully describes:

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

And so I paint my still point, to commune with the past and future in hopes of glimpsing what is now.