Monday, January 17, 2005

The Desert, a Dessert for the Eyes

I am originally from California, specifically from the peninsula that holds San Francisco at its tip, and I've lived all over the country, so I understand the differences among the regions of the country, yet I still find myself surprised by the initial foreignness of the vocabulary accompanying this delicate postcard drawing by kiyotei:

kiyotei, "Anza Borrego Flash Flood" (30 Dec 2004)

I had to look up "Anza Borrego" to discover that this is the name of a state park in my home state, and the title atop this piece tells us we are viewing a flash flood through that park. But below the drawing, we have three words: ocotillo, aqua, nopal. These words clearly identify the parts of the image for us, from left to right. The ocotillo is a desert shrub with slender branches that burst into clusters of red flowers in the rainy season, aqua is water, and the nopal is simply the prickly pear cactus.

Here we have a simple landscape: The red efflorescence of the ocotillo, the reddish brown of the water rushing through the desert, the red spines (are they ever really red?) and spine-nombrils of the nopal.

un violon d'ingres

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