Every Page of Every Page of Moby-Dick, 5



An admixture of geometric shapes and natural forms, textures, and colors comprise the body of “the invisible police officer of the Fates,” who in Ishmael’s dramatization decided his decision to go a-whaling. (Remember, that celestial script that predestined the whaling voyage of one Ishmael to fall somewhere between a hotly contested Presidential election and a bloody war in Afghanistan?) A pair of large, uplifted wings, comprised of long, pointed feathers – uncolored, outlined black – are set aback a body of geometric forms: a circle superimposed on a triangle, the apparent head, atop a rectangle turned on end. The circle is grass green and the triangle, almost entirely eclipsed, sunlight yellow; over the parallelogram of a body black ink and grass green unmix in thick, fluid swirls. 

Across that suntipped green circular field of a face runs a thin baleen band – a chain of tiny white rectangles forming a Venetian blind of a frown – below two staring eyes. One of them is one and the other is three, a triad of white points outlined black. The natural textures and stark two dimensional shapes of this canvas converge or collide in the appendages: two mechanistic arms fisted with metallic grey cubes for hands and, in a matching shade, two delicate feet like angled skyscrapers viewed from afar detached from the rest of the body.

Every time I look at this figure I’m drawn first to that geometric green face, placed almost dead center of the canvas. Then those scoping eyes or that wide drawn frown avert my gaze to either side, where a wrecking block hand is suddenly now just in view, coming from below. Scanning for a path of escape, my eyes have one last peaceful view of those angelic disembodied feet jackknifed like buildings against the sky before I turn the page. Traditionally, if hoping to espy angels, one keeps the chin up; this one drives mine down: a heavenly bully.

Matt Kish
MOBY-DICK, Page 005

Title: …this, the invisible police officer of the Fates, who has the constant surveillance of me, and secretly dogs me, and influences me in some unaccountable way…
(7.75 inches by 11 inches; acrylic paint and ink on found paper; August 9, 2009)