Every Page of Every Page of Moby-Dick, 7

8/24/21

1:11pm

7

First collage of the book, by virtue of yellowish green, rectangular cartoon affixed to the bottom of the found page (finally figured out from the printing on this page that the book being repurposed for these canvases is a systems manual for a Philco Chassis radio). The cartoon shows a man with his hand glued to a cabinet or window with another person (maybe a woman) behind, grasping his shoulders, trying to help him pry it off, the glue stretching between the man’s palm and the object’s surface: he appears panicked and pained, both appear strained. The cartoon forms a kind of band across the wrist of a rudimentary hand outlined with a medium-thick black pencil line, shaded grey, which occupies the majority of the canvas. Three irregular splotches of silver spray paint are added to the center of the canvas, representing the “few silver pieces” Ishmael retrieves from his pocket as he considers lodging options upon first arriving to wintry, tempestuous New Bedford.

Without the cartoon, the painting would register as a rather literal rendering of this page of MD compared to the canvases that have come before. The comical image of the man in a sticky situation belies the seriousness of Ishmael’s predicament – arriving to an unfamiliar place after nightfall with “little to no money in [his] purse” and facing a icy, restless night on the city street unless he finds shelter soon – but this is precisely the aptness of the collage. For all his vulnerability upon arriving to New Bedford, Ishmael casually, jokingly, even mockingly surveys his prospects before finally finding hospitality in the Spouter Inn.

MK’s illustrations are keenly attentive to the humor of MD; his choice of line often reveals his attraction to it. The line from the book that inspired this illustration is not the most overly funny line in the book up to this point, but this is one of the first overtly comical illustrations owing mainly to the element of collage.

Matt Kish
MOBY-DICK, Page 007

Title: With anxious grapnels I had sounded my pocket, and only brought up a few pieces of silver…
(7.75 inches by 11 inches; collage, colored pencil and spray paint on found paper; August 12, 2009)

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