Symbiosis

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DOMINICK TAKIS:  Symbiosis:  Sicilian, Irish and Other Travel Interpretations with Lichen

Symbiosis:  A close prolonged association between two or more different organisms of different species that may benefit each member. 

When I began to incorporate lichen onto my surfaces as a weight and balance for composition, I was mostly interested in it’s textures and patterns.  Lichen has an ancient and weathered look; it makes me think of civilizations that revered the circle as a symbol of the connection between the harmony of nature and the cosmos. The patterns of the lichen appeared on man-made Dolmens and portal tombs as well as naturally on stone. 

I began to read more about lichen and it’s symbiotic relationship to algae; how they create their own existence, yet are attached.  I found parallels in my own life; the distance that comes from independence, yet still remaining attached to my ancestors and culture. An outcropping of land, a farmhouse, a church or a graveyard may take on greater significance when it contains some familial connection.  This became apparent when traveling through my ancestral Sicily and in my wife’s native Ireland.  Whether drawing inspiration from the Cathedral mosaics in Monreale or through the neolithic stone of Drombeg, this work resonates with a desire to come full circle.  What began as physically traveling back to the land, has left an impression, influencing my work’s narrative.  Whether figuratively or intellectually, I have recognized this symbiotic relationship with my ancestors and culture and how it informs my art.

I recently collaborated with my father (who is a painter and mixed media artist) on this statement for his most recent work that will be shown in the Galatea Gallery in Boston during the month of June 2015

The Opening reception is 6-8Pm on Friday June 5th,  feel free to stop by if you are in the area.

Galatea Gallery   http://galateafineart.com/

Address: 460 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02118
Phone:(617) 542-1500

Between the Sky and the Sea

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The void spreads,

wandering for an echo.

Its silence shaved into a profile

Kanehoalani

keeper of the caves and underground springs

a labyrinth of burials

through which the wind speaks

its porous volcanic chants

this eternal dialogue with the dead

tufts of valley grass at its feet

regenerative pools of red petals

the scent of blood

born of ancient battles

resonates its decay,

blesses the sunrise

upon which we’ll walk this day.

The sea heaves you into sleep

collapsing in a heap of disfigured sheets.

Half nodded you note the details

from the table’s edge

to the depths at your feet

disassembling into archipelagos of dreaming.

The rain, rhythmic

dissolves the moon in Po Kane

mostly shadow, one blade of light

accentuates the featureless

paths of flashlight finding the abandoned places,

Luakaha, Tantalus, the remains of Luakini

under brush strokes midnight.

The muscular miracle,

the movement of your wrist,

the meandering river of your veins in motion

your parched and dried up words find an ocean

smoldering like a morning fire

a smoking illusion, the disappearing night

transitions into chalky white streaks

patterned on black lava rock platforms

where the dead are lead to edges

and waves of worldly concern ripple away.

That opening in a cloud of spray

was a swan dive through which endless night

sucks the last soul through.

No moon lights this procession,

put your ear to the blowhole

and take down its confession.

Track the mist, spreading in the absence of form,

the void, blanketed between the sky and the sea.

The Clouds Hold the Past

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1.

From a hidden source

somewhere in the mountains

clouds burst forth

as if fed with fire.

A series of slow glowing embers,

supple the clay mutations

that render fully formed figures

connected by luminous wire

and hung from a window’s edge

unveiled in transparent attire

that catches the light

before it strikes the abyss

and is undressed there forever.

2.

The artist conveys the unconscious

visibly in the sky’s mirror

shifting imprints on a wet sidewalk

where dreams stalk the waking

and interpretation is ever-changing

on an ink blot palette.

When a mouth of cloud gapes

to consume the half moon,

there will be one fibrous fingernail

scratching against the darkness,

a sharp talon piercing the mass

while light escapes through the cracks.

Nothing is static nor remains for long

on this borderless screen,

tragic scenes from the past

are replayed on this landscape of glass,

coils of inner state recreate the loop

and you’re held in thrall

while contorted images crawl past,

even here sorrow can find you.

3.

Sifting between the wavering bristles of Cook pine

casting shadows on the rock wall’s sacred design.

Curiosity steals a glance

until pursued through the cloud’s expanse,

seeking refuge, a silky balm

to move across the calm dimensions

and into the waiting arms of the sea.

Disappearing into India ink

like memories set to sink into insignificance,

those fleeting moments disintegrate

into roseate plates

that were the scales of some exquisite snake,

shaking free from the coils,

the clouds now steady

floating feathers in an offering of serenity,

a balancing act over the buoyant sea,

an older me, isolated yet integrated,

our history is one in the same.

One more Ripple in the Rendering

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In scratching the surface suggestion

seeking out a picture,

a glimmering impression of what has passed.

Through the dirt, rumor and broken glass,

the shards of a half-formed story

could be grasped and pieced together

until momentum would collapse the edges

into jagged gaps that

set streams to bleed over wrists in motion.

There’s always a diversion to twist the truth,

new evidence to lift, to unburden the proof.

There’s the sneaking suspicion

that no more is known now than when first ushered in

to the forbidden forest of what is lost.

In scratching the scars over the memory’s repression

the traumatic depression

of rock fall or article,

the writing on the wall

that is a faded scrawl

in the downward spiral towards oblivion.

To comprehend the texture of this revision

requires one’s own muddied thoughts

to be tracked through here again and again.

Confronting the silence between lines,

between the tied up chimes

and pictures in a collective mind.

There’s a conscious untying of the strings

to hear the wind sing

like birds above the oppressive ceiling of forgetting.

The claustrophobic wringing of this fine thread

leads to a dead end

where dried up palms

sound like snake rattles disturbing the calm

of surface waters with phantom paddles.

The cacophony of singing shells

in the shadow of the Pali dwells

from cool heights where they fell

to twist and unravel over a concrete

that knows neither streetlight nor renewal,

only decay in the memory of its evil,

imprinted like tire tracks,

degraded in overgrown cul de sacs.

Imagining the outlines

while the jungle assigns a new border,

a derelict gate to mark the edge of this haunted quarter

where everything unfolds in the fog of half-truths and disorder.

Bit by bit, each detail is fed to the collective fire,

like reams in a typewriter,

the legend has been tapped into the consciousness of the whole.

The rain comes in sheets

to prompt this release,

to dab at the wounds and proceed

even gently

past the banyan sentry

who seems to guard access to the heart of this mystery,

that secret source that will inspire

one more ripple in the rendering

of a story that knows neither beginning nor ending.

Endless yet Incomplete

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The spirit dreams itself through the land
to stand now gazing
through reflecting pools
at the myriad features
like masks on the wall
in this theater of skin.
Scenes to glow from within
like diamonds in an abyss
appearing endless yet incomplete.

Into purple rest
the sun now retreats over the ridge
kicking up cinders, shooting out prisms
until its first incision
will give life again to these sleepy limbs.
As day breaks the shadowplay,
Aurora will peel away
a ripple in the wave
revealing a wrinkle in the renewal
of birdsong that breaks the barrier
between beginnings and endings
the time babies are born
and elders pass away.

Some live on this edge,
balancing their tragedy every day.
Unable to feel deeply
the empathy between strangers,
the frightening familiarity
in a fear of ending up lonely.
This illusion appears to be
the last mist to lift
from the rift that keeps us separated
by the towering upheaval
that leaves us sifting
through the rubble of the bliss
we once knew had no division.

Aloof Muse

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They’ll fall on her tracks
with a trailing motion,
a multitude of mice
with a towering devotion
following her invitation
a text, the perfect prescription
to bandage the need for attention.
What did you expect from addiction?
What did you reflect in this room full of mirrors?
Fractured clones
lost in the fog of her gaze,
that vacuous place
of depthless perception.
The game she plays is staged
her costumes change
and yet there is this appeal
to empty form and pretense
which reveal her brilliance
to be the absence of light.
Your endless spins
on this black circle
has yielded to a willingness
to be another needy lapdog
anxious for her entrance
gazing into that darkness
with subway expectancy
waiting underground
for this aloof and impersonal vessel
to enter your unsteady station
and lead you away from yourself.

Female Figure by Cathy Connor

Tsunami, what may have been

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In light of imagining what may have been,
tsunami anxiety reveals a place to be more water than land,
flimsy and wafer thin
mole hill made into a mountain,
we may elevate but are we ever truly safe?
Our precious lives on thin strings,
lines of parked cars unraveling like beads
into a sea that comes to strip all to necessity.
It recedes in whitewash,
building on the horizon like a layer of static,
a distant transmission becomes a warning,
a gargantuan trick of the eye
and you have to look twice,
lulled by disbelief,
nature’s brief revelation to the damned.
It now doubles forward
with the force of a cataclysm.
The sound of sirens and countless alarms
scatters the mob at shoreline charmed,
freezing the clocks,
when reasoning stops, there is only survival.

Before the buildings and bridges fell,
doomsayers would yell out
“Get to higher ground!”
Animals growing restless in their cages
bird silence punctuates the ages
between the impending pause
and the tightening claws
that clamp down and than recede,
baiting the breadth of the sea
to come forward again, but so quickly!

If there was something you could grab hold of
when that muddy bullforce of machine debris
and blood topples all in its path,
sweeping the land free in one gasp,
it laps at the foot of fallen mountains
before returning again
over the scene of the crime so to speak,
that no man’s land
that leaves only street signs like bent bristles,
telephone poles and lines
crucified and adrift against concrete barges,
the swirling wood of toppled garages
merging into one mangled shape.
Who escapes that hulking mass
of steel and glass city
folding in on itself like a fault line rift?
Everything slips into that darkening plain,
each interval more acute,
the leveling destruction, the degree of pain
and in the eternity of time it takes between waves,
what remains is the realization,
that it has just begun.

Bloated bodies bob up
to float spread eagle
like horrible rafts
through the gutted aftermath,
tied in tourniquets of earth,
channeled like a capillary burst,
inside to out, everything is reversed
and when that terrible day wanes
and the ugly liquid drains
what you’ll see resembles massacres on a battle plain
and like the smoldering of trash-heaped dumps
on the edges of humanity,
people will come to comb the debris for loved ones,
to pull a familiar face
from the disfigured disappearing act,
the double feature of disaster and aftermath
merging in an amorphous mass.
making a mockery of innocence, exposing our helplessness,
we felt it quiver
those comfortable strings that hold it together,
revealed as so flimsy
in the light of this tragedy,
how in an instant it can all be ripped away,
swallowed by the crack that reveals this reality
was underneath it all along.