Titanic as Metaphor
I’m rather obsessed with the Titanic, and fortunately, it provides a rather potent metaphor for man’s fragile place in the world.
Titanic Series: a metaphorical realm that is simultaneously abstract and representational. It’s iconic, an incredible symbol as perhaps it is every ship.
The paintings are not ships sinking but about survival and a reminder of the fragility of life.
The sinking happened at midnight, so you’ve got the dark sky and open ocean, full of mystery and beauty. It was an incredibly large ocean liner, all lit up under a starry sky. So in my paintings, you will have references to scale and size. I have sublimated code in the paintings.
RMS, CDQ or SOS or … --- ...
is the international Morse code distress signal (). CQD message, which combined CQ, representing a general call to all stations, with the D for distress. (The message is often erroneously thought to stand for “Come Quick Danger.As precious time ticked away on the Titanic, the operators sent out CQD message, which combined CQ, representing a general call to all stations, with the D for distress. (The message is often erroneously thought to stand for “Come Quick Danger. RMS stands for Royal Mail Steamer. RMS, in formal terms, means "Royal Merchant Ship". However, the dual meaning was also "Royal Mail Steamer", because the Titanic carried mail under the auspices of His Majesty's postal authorities.
I love contrasts of color, points of light, lines and dots so I started a large abstract and with a few bold lines of oil crayon and "voila" I saw a ship and that’s how I came to create my first painting the Titanic 1. For me, it's a metaphor that events happen and we must not lose faith and endeavor to survive. It’s also about survival. I love survival stories.
One of the things about the Titanic sinking that bears some thinking about is the way it captures the imagination. It's been the subject of multiple movies and books; it's a major plot point in a Broadway Musical and the subject of songs, poems and works of art along with numerous parodies and derivative works. I have always been fascinated by both the tragic and wonderful heroic events of the Titanic. It tugs at my heart and is submerged in my subconscious.
The iceberg was "blue," the most difficult kind to see.
* The night was moonless -- no light to show the iceberg.
* The night was windless. Wind would have made waves to splash on the iceberg making it more visible.
It's a form of real heroism and the power of nature. The people aboard the Titanic had two and a half hours to act. How many could have been saved if they had turned all their resources to survival - making sure the lifeboats were all used and filled to capacity? Improvising rafts? Organizing the departure from the ship as quickly as possible? They had calm and order - what else could they have done with it?
My paintings are a reminder to think about what else can be done.
In this world today, we are facing challenges in which calm and order are going to be increasingly hard to come by. The RMS Titanic still has lessons for us a hundred years later - if we're willing to learn.
The Titanic provides a rather potent metaphor for man’s fragile place in the world.
There are times that we are adrift and sailing and do not expect circumstances to change our course. There are icebergs in our life, ill health, change and more. We may run aground on an iceberg of happenings and we have to grab our life jackets and make for the nearest boat or refuge. We must use the time we have well and when adversity comes believe that a rescue ship is on the way and that the Carpathia of help is soon to arrive. We never know how long we will be afloat so every second of our life is precious.
"The creation and destruction of the ship are symbols of "what human ingenuity can achieve and how easily that same ingenuity can fail in a brief, random encounter with the forces of nature." The human aspects of the story are also a source of fascination, with different individuals reacting in very different ways to the threat of death – from accepting their fate to fighting for survival.Titanic - Describing the disaster as "one of the most fascinating single events in human history," Stephanie Barczewski identifies a number of factors behind the continuing popularity of the story of the Titanic."
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