Every Page of Every Page of Moby-Dick, 6



Another found page is painted over almost entirely by a rectangular field of deep azure, saturating the canvas. Only on the left and right margins (about a fingernail’s width on each side) does any of the circuit board schematic show through, and there only a series of partial small circles containing alphanumeric labels for the resistors being identified on the schematic buried in the blue. At the bottom of the canvas two fin-shaped protuberances, angled down, reveal the big blue block to be the form of “the great whale” swimming up the page.

A narrow inverted V painted white dominates the middle third of the canvas. Regarded two dimensionally this inverted V – tapered toward the lowermost points and of greater breadth at the fulcrum – appears to have some symbolic investiture, like a great white phallic hieroglyph on the great blue whale’s back, which befits the line from MD that inspired this illustration, where “the overwhelming idea of the great whale…” is gendered (generically) male: “…himself.” It calls to mind a primitive blade, archetype of the harpoons and lances by which legions of real whales were slain in the fishery. 

Now refocus your gaze three dimensionally. You’re not looking down on this “overwhelming idea of the great whale” from above. This very form of whale, the “chief motive” of Ishmael going a-whaling, you’re seeing from below. That empty inverted V is a yawn, her opening maw.

Matt Kish
MOBY-DICK, Page 006

Title: Chief among these motives was the overwhelming idea of the great whale himself.
(7.5 inches by 11 inches; acrylic paint on found paper; August 11, 2009)