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Wednesday, 12 November 2003

Fruition 5: "vanessa bell, a conversation"

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Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, sisters and members of the Bloomsbury set. Here's Bell's painting of herself and Woolf at Kew, 'The Conversation':

"The people in Woolf's work talk about paintings and people, objects and sights we cannot see. The people in Bell's paintings speak words we cannot hear"

"Vanessa paints many figures that are faceless. This is exactly what we see Woolf doing when she attacks linear plot in her novels."

"In [Between the Acts], she shows her characters...between time present and time past, between creation, recreation and the frustrations of repetition. In a brilliant phantasmagoria, she could drain her own visions, empty it of colour, light, sight, rhythm, sound. How shocking it is, when she suddenly takes it all away. She had brought it all up so close, with her seductive synaesthesia - her crooning, buzzing sounds, her shifting perspectives, her resonant colours, her gentle, shimmering light - that while we were reading it, we thought it was ours, we thought it was real. How reassuring it is when she resumes her narrative each time, and each time brilliantly extends her vision. Art for the post-impressionist is illusory, a complex, complicit conjuring trick on the parts of both artist, viewer, and reader" (Roe )

"Readers can really see the influence of art on her writing. When we describe her novels it is as if we are describing a Cezanne, perhaps. Painting was imprinted on the mind of Woolf and appeared throughout most of her novels. She attacked her fiction through a painter's eye, too. She wrote of Orlando that she has "scrambled & splashed, & the canvas shows through in a thousand places. " She also said when she was editing Mrs. Dalloway that it is "as thus one works with a wet brush over the whole, & joins parts separately comprised & gone dry". Finally by the time we reach her last novel Between the Acts, she writes that luckily she is only, "covering...a small canvas" (Gillespie). The painting that Woolf mocked early on in her life had now become an integral part in every aspect of it."

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This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:26 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 13 November 2003 1:32 PM GMT
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