Black Plank

An essay about art and family:

“I had thought its blackness would be that of a black hole, whose point of no return sucks in color and light never to be seen again. But the ceiling lights shone in it like an assembly of suns, and the reflected hues of a Frank Stella collage in the room behind me gave it a bit of cheer. I felt awkward standing directly in front of it, unable to look at Black Plank without seeming to look at myself. You actually look into it, not at it, and therefore into yourself. This illusion of depth reminded me of Thoreau’s lake-as-earth’s-eye, ‘looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.’ Maybe our mirrors should be like this, I thought—a vehicle for soul-searching, just dark enough to be useless for applying lipstick or plucking gray hairs. The plank cast long, overlapping shadows on the wall behind it, narrow at the top and wider at the bottom, like an inverted paper fan beginning to open.”

Published: Jun 25, 2013
Length: 16 minutes (4,202 words)