The Night of Passing
Musings | Monthly Muse November 2022
Upon approaching Mayme Kratz’s The Night of Passing, I feel more seen than seeing. From the center panel, a bright speck peers at me, as if through time, piercing layers of murky luminescence. I wonder about the source of the light. Does it emanate from a radiant hinterland? From within the blanketing clouds? Searching, my gaze dissolves into the crevasses partitioning the canvas sheets. To penetrate these gaps is to drown in whatever expansiveness holds the three panels: to submit to formless space, to the depths of deep night. I hold my distance, warily.
My eye searches for anchors: What is that gleaming on the left panel? A shape? An opening? A reflection? The horizon, delineating the light of a setting sun? Or is it a fragment of a larger form that holds the darkness within? I look for a story–bridging the panels, left to right. Does the light recast on each canvas portray process? The slow passing from sunset to dawn? The density of the present moment, which embraces both past and future? The pace of our ever-thinking minds? The obliteration and emergence of the self?
Does it move in any direction at all? Does night pass? Or does passing take me out of night, out of my intimacy with these ghostly canvases-made-one? My story begins to take form, dawning slowly. And, whooooosh! I’ve missed the night altogether. It passed as I was trying to make something out of the darkness.
UCI Associate Professor, Humanities Core