When I Consider How My Light Is Spent: Shane Guffogg


When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

Shane Guffogg
May 20th, 2015

Sight and the idea of seeing, both the physical world and the terrene that is sensed, but just beyond reach, is a recurring theme in my work. The referencing of poetry for my titles is an inroad to that invisible landscape and – when I really stop and think about it – my way of giving an audience a looking glass to see through.

When I Consider How My Light is Spent is the title of a poem by the English poet John Milton (1608 -1674). The poem is Milton's contemplation of his life with the onset of his blindness, and how useful he might still be – or not be – to God. I think of my paintings as wordless poems. They are a form of writing but with paint via a brush. In the case of this title, Milton's poem allowed me to start thinking differently about light because the title infers it is finite: there comes a moment when the light is no more.

In this series of paintings, the light source is coming from approximately where the viewer should be standing, making the viewer's conscious awareness of the work and their place in that moment in time both perceived and imagined. It is a way of exploring the conundrum between the physical and the spiritual, which I like to think of as the infinity of perception.