both you and paintings are layered... first, ephemera and notations on the back of the canvas. Labels indicate gallery shows, museum shows, footprints in the snow, so to speak. Then pencil scribbles on the stretcher, usually by the artist, usually a title or date. Next the stretcher itself. Pine or something. Wooden triangles in the corners so the picture can be tapped tighter when the canvas becomes loose. Nails in the wood securing the picture to the stretcher. Next, a canvas: linen, muslin, sometimes a panel; then the gesso - a primary coat, always white. A layer of underpaint, usually a pastel color, then, the miracle, where the secrets are: the paint itself, swished around, roughly, gently, layer on layer, thick or thin, not more than a quarter of an inch ever - God can happen in that quarter of an inch - the occasional brush hair left embedded, colors mixed over each other, tones showing through, sometimes the weave of the linen revealing itself. The signature on top of the entire goulash. Then varnish is swabbed over the whole. Finally, the frame, translucent gilt or carved wood. The whole thing is done.
So what is it really like? What happens when people die?" Noor asks Alice Bhatti, who after finishing her shift has changed into a loose maxi and is lying down on a wheelie stretcher, her forearm covering her eyes. A half-torn poster on the wall behind the stretcher says : Bhai, your blood will bring a revolution. Someone has scrawled under it with a marker: And that revolution will bring more blood. Someone has added Insha'allah in an attempt to introduce divine intervention into the proceedings. Some more down-to-earth soul has tried to give this revolution a direction, and drawn an arrow underneath and scribbled, Bhai, the Blood Bank is in Block C.
You have bits of canvas that are unpainted and you have these thick stretcher bars. So you see that a painting is an object; that it's not a window into something - you're not looking at a landscape, you're not looking at a portrait, but you're looking at a painting. It's basically: A painting is a painting is a painting. And it's what Frank Stella said famously: What you see is what you see.
I remember the noise of the bells ringing at school as the effigy of Guy Fawkes we'd prepared earlier was carried out on a canvas stretcher, hoisted on to the huge bonfire and set alight. Then the revelry would begin. My school friends and I would all have sparklers we passed around, lighting one from another.
The vision seemed to enter the house with me-the stretcher, the phantom-bearers, the wild crowd of obedient worshippers, the gloom of the forests, the glitter of the reach between the murky bends, the beat of the drum, regular and muffled like the beating of a heart-the heart of a conquering darkness.
They call it football, but the object of the game is to bash the other guy so hard that he's eventually carried off the field on a stretcher. I can't watch football anymore. My psychiatrist said it's better that way. I used to watch a game, see the players in a huddle - and think they were talking about me.
Be helpless, dumbfounded, Unable to say yes or no. Then a stretcher will come from grace to gather us up. We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty. If we say we can, we're lying. If we say No, we don't see it, That No will behead us And shut tight our window onto spirit. So let us rather not be sure of anything, Beside ourselves, and only that, so Miraculous beings come running to help. Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute, We shall be saying finally, With tremendous eloquence, Lead us. When we have totally surrendered to that beauty, We shall be a mighty kindness.
On one stretcher lay a man who had been mutilated in a particularly monstrous way. A large splinter from the shell that had mangled his face, turning his tongue and lips into a red gruel without killing him, had lodged in the bone structure of his jaw, where the cheek had been torn out. He uttered short groans in a thin inhuman voice; no one could take these sounds for anything but an appeal to finish him off quickly, to put an end to his inconceivable torment (101). Dr. Zhivago
No, there's fifteen francs somewhere, which nobody gives a damn about anymore and which nobody is going to get in the end anyhow, but the fifteen francs is like the primal cause of things and rather than listen to one's own voice, rather than walk out on the primal cause, one surrenders to the situation, one goes on butchering and butchering and the more cowardly one feels the more heroically does he behave, until a day when the bottom drops out and suddenly all the guns are silenced and the stretcher-bearers pick up the maimed and bleeding heroes and pin medals on their chest.
As my body lay dead on that stretcher (he later recovered from being struck by lightning attracted by his cell phone), I was reliving every moment of my life, including my emotions, attitudes, and motivations. The depth of emotion I experienced during this life review was astonishing. Not only could I feel the way both I and the other person had felt when an incident took place, I could also feel the feelings of the next person they reacted to. I was in a chain reaction of emotion, one that showed how deeply we affect one another.
NO, THIS IS EVERYTHING I COULDA DID MORE BUT TELL ME WHAT I GOTTA FRONT FOR CAN'T KNOCK MY HUSTLE LIKE A FRONT DOOR YOU CAN'T TOUCH ME LIKE THE FRONT ROOM YOU KNOW WHEN I SPIT ITS LIKE A MONSOON SOMEBODY CALL 911 SWEAR THEY GONNA NEED A STRETCHER WHEN I'M DONE MONEY MONEY MONEY ONLY MONEY ON MY MIND FOUR CHAINS MAKE IT SUNNY ALL THE TIME IF I GET OUT OF LINE, PLEASE DON'T BLAME ME I'M ONLY AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT THE WORLD MADE ME SO DRINKS UP TILL I'M SIX DOWN SOMEBODY ROLL UP I NEED A HIT NOW I SAID JUDY COULDN'T JUDGE ME SO HIGH BABY, AIN'T NOBODY ABOVE ME
War is not two great armies meeting in the clash and frenzy of battle. War is a boy being carried on a stretcher, looking up at God's blue sky with bewildered eyes that are soon to close; war is a woman carrying a child that has been injured by a shell; war is spirited horses tied in burning buildings and waiting for death; war is the flower of a race, battered, hungry, bleeding, up to its knees in filthy water; war is an old woman burning a candle before the Mater Dolorsa for the son she has given.
Mary Roberts Rinehart
The last time I saw Collin was in 1917, at the foot of Mort-Homme. Before the great slaughter, Collin'd been an avid angler. On that day, he was standing at the hole, watching maggots swarm among blow flies on two boys that we couldn't retrieve for burial without putting our own lives at risk. And there, at the loop hole, he thought of his bamboo rods, his flies and the new reel he hadn't even tried out yet. Collin was imaging himself on the riverbank, wine cooling in the current his stash of worms in a little metal box and a maggot on his hook, writhing like... Holy shit. Were the corpses getting to him? Collin. The poor guy didn't even have time to sort out his thoughts. In that split second, he was turned into a slab of bloody meat. A white hot hook drilled right through him and churned through his guts, which spilled out of a hole in his belly. He was cleared out of the first aid station. The major did triage. Stomach wounds weren't worth the trouble. There were all going to die anyway, and besides, he wasn't equipped to deal with them. Behind the aid station, next to a pile of wood crosses, there was a heap of body parts and shapeless, oozing human debris laid out on stretchers, stirred only be passing rats and clusters of large white maggots. But on their last run, the stretcher bearers carried him out after all... Old Collin was still alive. From the aid station to the ambulance and from the ambulance to the hospital, all he could remember was his fall into that pit, with maggots swarming over the open wound he had become from head to toe... Come to think of it, where was his head? And what about his feet? In the ambulance, the bumps were so awful and the pain so intense that it would have been a relief to pass out. But he didn't. He was still alive, writhing on his hook. They carved up old Collin good. They fixed him as best they could, but his hands and legs were gone. So much for fishing. Later, they pinned a medal on him, right there in that putrid recovery room. And later still, they explained to him about gangrene and bandages packed with larvae that feed on death tissue. He owed them his life. From one amputation and operation to the next - thirty-eight in all - the docs finally got him 'back on his feet'. But by then, the war was long over.