(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘prints

“The element of mystery to which you want to draw attention should be surrounded and veiled by a quite obvious, readily recognisable commonness”*…

Day And Night (1938)

An appreciation of the marvelous M.C. Escher…

Despite being a fan of Rennaisance Art and the work of the Impressionists, he feels increasingly pulled in a different direction…

When you look at this picture, you’re flipping between world views. Either you’re seeing the white birds, and the bright, presumably sunlit day scene with its cheerful flotilla of steam ships puffing their way upriver – or you’re seeing the black birds, and your eye is drawn to the night-shrouded landscape where the houses have their lights on and the sky’s already eaten the horizon & is creeping nearer…

Except, that’s not quite right. The black birds are in the daylight side, and the white ones are flying into the night. These aren’t just mirror images: they’re like the Ancient Chinese yin-yang symbol, each side containing part of its opposite…

Escher’s love of the fantastical is primarily inspired by what he sees around him, not what he can dream up out of next to nothing… By looking closely at the real world, and trying to understand how it works, Escher will invite his initially small but intensely loyal fanbase to explore some very strange mysteries indeed.

Ascending And Descending (1960)

It’s the 1960s now, and nonconformity is all the rage. Hair is getting longer, psychedelics-powered artistry is flourishing, and anything that seems to scream to hell with the rules is increasingly in vogue… Because of the fantastical elements of his work, Escher is acquiring a reputation as a surrealist. As a self-identifying “reality enthusiast,” it’s the very last thing he wants. Take Ascending & Descending, where he’s clearly turning his imagination to the futility of so much in the human-centred world. In a letter to a friend, he says:

“Yes, yes, we climb up and up, we imagine we are ascending; one step is about 10 inches high, terribly tiring – and where does it get us? Nowhere.”

But until the end of his career, his work will continue to speak to something deeper – a rebellion against human incuriosity, or a constant rallying-cry for the act of paying attention…

Read it in full: “Fooling With Certainty: The Impossibly Real Worlds Of MC Escher,” from Mike Sowden (@Mikeachim)

* M. C. Escher


As we look closely, we might recall that it was on this date in 1859 that our perspective was shifted in a different kind of way: Charles Darwin published The Origin of the Species.  Actually, on that day he published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life; the title was shortened to the one we know with the sixth edition in 1872.

Title page of the 1859 edition


(Roughly) Daily will be on a brief Thanksgiving hiatus, returning when the the tryptophan haze has passed…

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, 99 Bottles of Beer…


Tis the season of driving vacations, long flights– and thus, of pastime games.  Your correspondent suspects that license plate bingo is getting as stale for most readers as it is for him (besides which, it doesn’t work very well on an airplane).  So, a couple of alternatives:

The Double Feature Game: Players take turns imagining the marquee of a theater playing a particularly funny (or ironic or poignant) double bill; e.g.:

The Most Dangerous Game
Love Actually

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Apocalypse Now

The Song Title Conversation Game: Players take turns suggesting two song titles, the second of which is a response to the first; e.g.,

“Who Do You Love,” George Thorogood — “Nobody But Me,” The Human Beinz

“Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever,” Journey — “Nothing Lasts Forever,” Maroon 5

“Make That Move,” Shalamar — “I’m Just Too Shy,” Jermaine Jackson

(TotH to Am I Right— “making fun of music, one song at a time”)

Hours of fun, Dear Readers; hours of fun!…

As we consider simply staying home, we might recall that it was on this date last year that Kodak ceded the victory of digital photography and announced that it would discontinue the production and sale of Kodachrome print and slide film, a tourist staple since 1935.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 22, 2010 at 12:01 am

%d bloggers like this: