Kados and I’ve been busy in the studio, turning visual somersaults, lassoing in a herd of ideas, enough to at least have them feel as if they’re born of the same symphony. I do the dirty work, of course—building the frame, stretching the canvas, mixing the paint, scrubbing and scumbling the surface, cleaning up afterward—while Kados opines from his lofty interior perch as to whether all this energy-flow holds a measure of value that I hope it does or even, often enough, any at all.
“I think we have something,” he’ll proclaim, when, after much fretting and uncertainty from my side, a painting boldly asserts itself, as if I had nothing to do with its successful birth. Or just as likely, as he did today, he’ll say, “Sorry, Galen, but what you’ve found feels as dense as a cupful of mud. Better scrub it out and re-approach…with a little less ‘you’ this time. You know what I mean, right?”
I do know what he means. I can’t deny it. Kados, my beloved shadow, has a perspective I don’t have, more intuitive and targeted. I concede.
“Thanks, Kados. I appreciate your guidance, brutal as it often is. I’m grateful. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“You couldn’t,” he mumbled, alternately appearing and disappearing within the pulsing of our heart.
I’ve often wondered, since having given my alter ego a name, if Kados is nothing more than the opposite side of this self I think of as me, as if on one side of a blank sheet of paper, facing me, is written the name Galen and on the other side is written Kados, facing everything I cannot see. Is this how we came into being? Or was Kados already here as I was squeezed out of a dark nothing into the light of everything? I don’t know. And if Kados knows, he’s not saying.
“You could be a bit more helpful, Kados.”
“What is it you need?”
Here it is. Slightly over two years ago, past images—meditative and dreamlike—revisited, reeling me back into their dominion, having first appeared as the Pneuma Shift Series four decades ago, then suddenly disappeared that same year, 1982, when I tried to conjure them back. Gone. Nowhere to be found. Ok. Ok. I know it sometimes takes a while to complete a vision. So when they returned in 2018, I welcomed them back; journey complete, I said to myself. But no, they persist. Relentlessly, it seems.
“Have I no control, Kados? No say-so in the matter? I keep thinking that I need to be or should be or want to be exploding great bombs of color in wild abstractions, rioting across the canvas like a monkey on LSD. I dream of it, then the next day, as I contemplate the physical dive, the shadow of Pneuma Shift slips in, wedges herself between me…or us, I should say…and the Big Bang, as it were. Then all is lost. Or is it? I’m confused.”
“Have patience, brother. Surely there’s a reason for these long, persistent ‘escapes’ to unwind as they do, as they must. Think of it as the quiet before the storm, the ending of the beginning. Be grateful for where this light takes you.”
Time to drift beneath the covers of sleep, I think. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.
Buddha’s Flight, oil on canvas, 2021