TitleA Crack In The Teacup
Details18×24″, oil on linen on panel, 2014
“The Uncanny,” 2014, S.R. Brennen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM
“The Language of Objects,” 2016, Principle Gallery, Washington DC
Inscribed on the door of the cabinet is the following verse:
The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead…
O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.
(W. H. Auden, “As I Went Out One Evening,” ll. 41-44, 53-56)
W.H. Auden examines the contradictions and vagaries of romantic love. Whereas most love poems are inspired by, and depict, the first flush of love, Auden’s poem explores the reality of “ever after.” His poem, which is rich with confusing imagery and veiled symbolism, paints love as it is: complicated, flawed, and a most quintessentially human pursuit.
The ominous presences in the cupboard and the bed—the desert and the glacier, which perhaps represent romantic drought and winters of the heart—are the everyday faults and fissure lines in a relationship, as subtle to the eye and yet as unassailable as a crack in a teacup. It is our “crooked hearted” love for each other that ministers these hairline cracks and resists the break.