The first time that I saw this image by Helen Sear was in an email from Cassilhaus, the spectacular home cum gallery of Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus, announcing an exhibition of works by women artists called Private Portals. In the email was this image:
This is part of a series that Helen Sear calls Inside the View. You can see other works from this collection at her website.
The work itself is smaller than I expected but significantly brighter than the photograph above. IMNSHO, Ellen and Frank got away with the best of the bunch!
I am transfixed by this image.
Why do I respond so strongly?
Everything may ultimately spring from my mother’s untimely death. But I can’t help thinking that there is much more.
I left Berkeley, my home town, in 1960 when I went to college (I eternally regret not going to UC Berkeley), and I left the Bay Area permanently in 1964 when I went to Tunisia as a Peace Corps volunteer. But I never cease longing for the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from my parents’ house, with the sun setting straight behind. And I cannot forget one of the the most beautiful man-made places in the world, the Palace of Fine Arts designed by the architect Bernard Maybeck:
It surprises me to see other people’s photos of the Palace of Fine Arts. If the photos revealed by this Google search are any indication, all that most people see is an exceptionally beautiful classical building set in a beautiful park in a beautiful city.
But the Palace of Fine Arts is not a classical building like the others. My eyes have always been drawn upwards to the mysterious, unreachable figures standing at the top of the columns, faces hidden, looking away from me:
Helen Sear returns me to this place.