Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Fourth Dimension, by Patrick J. Sullivan


The Fourth Dimension, by Patrick J. Sullivan
(c) MOMA

I can't really put into words how much I adore this painting by Patrick Sullivan. It hands very casually in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC in some small corner surrounded by other pieces of art. If you weren't looking for it you would never notice it; it hands basically near the ground or at least it did when I first saw it about 3 years ago. My Aesthetics class professor told us to go to the MOMA (which students at my college have free access to) and to choose a piece of art to discuss in class and write a short report on. I wasn't in MOMA for more than 10 minutes when I turned a corner and saw this painting hanging from across the room. Who says there's no such thing as love at first sight? Strangely I found that Sullivan be very mysterious. He's not very well known outside of artistic circles, and his art is so scarce it almost counts as "found art". He's known for his crudely drawn almost troll like people, and dark imagery. I was asked by my professor if I believed his art belonged in a museum, and I said no it would probably be better appreciated hanging in my living room! I love this piece because although dark, in my interpretation of it I see nothing but hope.

The chained man on the left faces an infinite universe just waiting to be explored. He looks like he's longing to see more but he cannot because he is literally stuck where he is and must wait until he is no longer stuck. In the center we have what looks like an hour glass with light emanating from it to signal the passage of time. The hour glass also points to the only sun in the universe that the man can see. The man on the left , who is presumably the same man, has passed on and is no longer chained, and his ethereal form is now free to roam as it wishes. The man's "ghost" or "spirit" has a relaxed expression; the same expression as the man's corpse. He's no longer stressed, or angry, or panicked; now this man has all the time in the universe, and is no longer constricted to the hour glass or the chain. He isn't even constricted to the planet anymore!The fourth dimension is thought to be the realm of time where time is itself is a force (although many scientists are attempting to change our minds of that). It has been considered to be the front door and gateway to the infinite universe, and to heaven itself. It is also been hypothesized to be where spirits roam after death. The fourth dimension may very well be all of these things. Most importantly I feel that the Fourth Dimension is a place of peace and rest. I believe this is where the wholeness of our true-selves really resides and we're just trying to find a way to reconnect with it.

I'm not sure what sort of man Patrick Sullivan was, or what his spiritual beliefs were. I think though that like a lot of us he might have lived a dull or gloomy life, but that he still hoped for a beautiful where he could truly be free.