I love art, and I appreciation the beauty created by artists from around the world, using a variety of media. Art acts as a balm to my soul, and often delivers a kick to my imagination.
The panel that caught my eye today is entitled 'The Ascent' and created by Kevin Wallhead - a talented artist who was kind enough to allow me to use his work in the setting of the Aurora gallery in 'Chemical Light'.
Here's the section that features 'The Ascent', from chapter thirteen of 'Chemical Light':
Together, they stared at the panel hanging on the gallery wall.
“You really like this?” Liana queried. “It’s an unusual choice. Kevin Wallhead’s work isn’t to everyone’s taste.” She deliberately didn’t simplify her speech. For a start, if Michael were the genius that Bob had named him, he would understand what she meant. It was more than that though… she knew, deep in her bones, that here was a child who saw the world around him in a way that few others, whatever their age, did.
“Yes, I like it. Those lines, that look like he’s drawn them in the glass itself… are they made from copper wire?”
“Yes they are,” Liana replied, unable to keep the surprise out of her voice. “This piece is called ‘The Ascent’ and it’s the first part of a triptych, although each piece is also a stand-alone artwork. Do you know about the technique he’s used here?”
Michael turned to her, his pale, childish features topped with a mass of red curls that vied for attention with his strangely coloured eyes. Briefly, Liana wondered if his mother’s hair was also naturally curly, but straightened to fit in with today’s fashion. Though Michael didn’t have the same streak of blonde that Julianne did, his gaze was still direct enough to send a slight shiver down Liana’s back.
“I know a little of the technique,” he said. “I’ve made a study of contemporary glass blowing and—fusing. There are some amazing glass artists out there, some of them reviving centuries old techniques and refining them, whilst others are creating totally new ways of using glass—like Mr Wallhead.”
“Do you have any other work like this?” Liana asked, fascinated by the way that Michael’s eyes continuously flicked back to the panel, as if he couldn’t bear not to look at it.
Michael shook his head. “No. I have a graal bowl by Jonathan Harris and I’ve been considering getting a piece of his intrinsic cameo glass too, but this…” he once again stared at ‘The Ascent’. “This is so different. I don’t think its title suits it though… It isn’t an ascent at all; it’s a journey… across space.”
Liana looked back at the panel and realised that he had a point. The panel depicted the back of a naked man, his head bent away from the viewer; his body turned in such a way that the artist had managed to show every beautifully defined line of his muscled physique, without displaying anything that could be considered too sexual for a child’s eyes. The man’s form took up the left-hand side of the panel, his foot resting on what appeared to be a planet as he pushed himself further into the Cosmos. Michael was right; this was a journey through space. Crushed glass was fused tightly to the smooth base panel. The multiple, dull-edged shards reflected the gallery lights, giving the impression of millions of stars, stretching deep into the Universe. Precious metals and coloured discs had also been incorporated into the background, giving a sense of extreme distance, and of worlds that still waited to be explored.
“You’re right…” Liana breathed. “I interpreted it as man ascending from the Earth; towards a distant vision of Heaven that he can’t quite reach… but… no… this is a journey; a journey that humans are yet to make.”
“Or maybe it’s about where we’ve come from?” Michael mused.
Suddenly, his hand was in Liana’s, his fingers wrapped around hers and gripping her tightly. She turned towards him, feeling the strength of his resolve. “I really want this. Did you say there are three panels?”
Two things happened in quick succession. First, the pendant at her neck began to heat rapidly against her skin, until it became almost uncomfortable, and then Giles was by her side, his gaze intent on Michael.
Bemused, Liana looked into Michael’s eyes and found herself nodding, though her thoughts had become scattered. “Yes… when the gallery purchased this panel direct from the artist, Kevin said he was planning another two. One will have only planets on it and the third will have the figure of a woman, mirroring the pose of the male figure in this one.”
Michael’s eyes flared with excitement and his fingers gripped Liana’s to the point of pain. She thought about trying to loosen his hold, but hesitated, feeling as if she were missing something important. “How can a child, who looks so small, possess strength like this?” she wondered.
Giles was watching Michael closely. The boy’s face was tilted upwards, so that he could take in every aspect of the panel, his expression rapt.
“That would be perfect; I can see it now… a new, specially adapted humanity, journeying through the stars to find their true home, to return to the place that first gave this planet the building blocks of life.”
For the first time, Liana realised that there was something more than passion in Michael’s eyes. His expression now held a touch of something that looked disturbingly like… fanatical fervour. She stiffened in response, vaguely aware that the pendant now pulsed against her skin, giving off almost electric-sharp tingles that radiated out across her chest and down the lengths of both her arms, until it pooled into the palms of her hands. It felt hot… and it was getting hotter.
Giles moved around her now, never taking his eyes off Michael. “Are you all right?” he asked the boy, his voice low, as if he were trying not to startle him.
For the first time in several minutes, Michael’s gaze left the glass panel and swung to Giles. He blinked slowly, twice, his gaze glassy and his mouth slack. Then he licked his lips and… smiled.
“Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for asking.”
The polite young boy was back.