Textures on its shell casting macrocosmic crescent moons,
Colored with a gradient shifting from black to gray,
The egg lies on its side, casting a shadow onto the red tablecloth on which it lay.
The shadow runs alongside the bottom left of the egg and stretches millimeters longer than the egg,
Creates a double,
A fleeting imprint of its existence onto the world, a reminder: I was here; you may not remember me, but I was here.
The tablecloth, smoothed to perfection across the top, loses its rigidity and, free of form, shifts and sways and folds in on itself.
The table stands near a canvas on an easel. On the canvas: a mature bird, wings in the midst of flapping, hovers at the center of a white background. It seems poised to soar, not to attack. Light bouncing off its fur—rendered in white strokes—the bird personifies a sense of strength and confidence as it floats on the canvas, beneath the bristles of a brush
Held in the right hand of an artist,
Who curls the fingers of his right hand around a hole on a palate. Only the foundation for the four colors used implies the intent of leaving the background white. Blank. This decision commands the eye to
Focus on the bird—and infer its confidence, its majesty.
The man paints the egg as he sees it: not as a product of evolution but as a fleeting object, an organism trapped in the prison
Of never-ending change.
The artist examines the egg without expression. He adds strokes of light to the bird’s feather without glancing at the canvas. The bird reflects the artist’s dedication and confidence. And the artist reflects everything else.
Awe and wonder fill me whenever I study this painting. The simplicity of the style, as well as the title, fails to betray the complexity of the imagery itself.
Exploiting such a duality, he—Magritte—yielded the fruits of an irrational universe. And he included me in his endeavor: by paying attention to it, by building models of it, from instructions created by Magritte himself, I’m helping him in the past create the nearly century-old painting
By teaching me how to experience the irrational, Magritte left a shadow, however fleeting, a reminder of his existence.
In death, this shadow must taste bittersweet: the artist hasn’t ingested it yet,
He hasn’t allowed time to erase him from the earth.
Perhaps in life, he enjoyed the thought of immortality.
What if he even feared death itself?
As time shifted, the agent of change, that monster, eventually delivered to him what he feared. Now,
Yet I’m helping him—while he’s still alive—create the masterpiece currently filling my eyes, but in a universe both alive and thriving.
Surrealist Daulton Dickey lives with his wife, kids, and pet human-lizard hybrid in a universe he created. He’s the author of Elegiac Machinations, Bastard Virtues, Flesh Made World, and Dig the Meat Music (forthcoming from Nihilism Revised) Contact him at lostitfunhouse [at] gmail [dot] com