The Rough Caress Of A Perfect RedThursday, October 27, 2011
Looking at Scott Augustine’s (he plays Riff in the Vancouver Opera production of West Side Story) fake “Real Blood brand” in his dressing room tonight with my friend John Lekich and with Therese von Hartwig “The Mistress of Blood.” I could not, but think of things red. When I arrived home I looked at a beautiful book given to me for Christmas in 2005 (at the Railway Club) by my friend and former colleague of things magazines, Kerry McPhedran. The book is all about the dyes from long past until the present that have given us those brilliant reds and sometimes a perfect one.
I happen to have a sample of perfect red. It is a Mexican rebozo given to my mother in Mexico City sometime in 1952. I suspect that the rough fabric rebozo was dyed by the use of that sometimes elusive cochineal (which is what the book is really all about). By the end of the 50s Mexican artisans had probably abandoned the cochineal perfect red to adopt the cheaper and most convenient modern dyes.
The rebozo I keep inside a beautiful chest made from the aromatic Mexican tree called Olinalá. But I take it often to use a prop with some of my portraits and especially with my nudes. Alas I cannot show here those nudes in their entirety because this blog has my self-imposed image censorship. But there are enough pictures for you to judge that this particular red rebozo is as perfect as perfect can be.
Sometimes I incorporate some black stone (also Mexican) necklaces given to me by my friend Raúl Guerrero Montemayor. They photograph as an absolute black.
I foresee that the rebozo and the two necklaces still have much use ahead of them. I am sure that my mother would surely approve how the rebozo roughly caresses the skin of my models. She was a most liberal parent who when not so liberal would have been told off by my grandmother who would have said, “Let Alex be, he and I are both artists.”