The Art of Tale selected painting notes
9/11 Ground Zero By Janet Wilson
9/11 Ground Zero is a monumental work in every sense of the word. Its sheer size places it amongst Tale's most ambitious works. Matching this monumental scale, within the work are dense, complex observations of the tragic event, which occurred in New York City on 11 September 2001 Reflecting on the dimension and character of this event Tale resolved to make a painting depicting his own interpretations. As this book reveals, the subject of conflict and aggression has been one of his constant preoccupations, throughout his working-life. Almost inevitably 9/11 became a subject of the utmost concern for him. He chose here to focus on the wider context. As justifiecd by the subject, the work contains intricate, sometimes arcane references, offering several interpretations. The regenerative powers of this vibrant city are also acknowledged.Tale maximises the use of metaphor and the emblematic. He has selected the tension of the instant before impact, like a frozen still'.
With consummate skill, several dimensions in time are simultaneously conveyed - time past, the immediate present, and future. Among the most important features of the painting is the abstracted depiction of the life and character of New York City itself Several highly illustrious American artists, have employed a variety of abstract styles to portray New York. Their individual perceptions of the 'reality of this city 'which never sleeps provide, what ever their specific theme, a helpful context within which to place Tale's individual interpretation. Distinguished and important artists such as John Marin, Joseph Stella. Lionel Feigninger and Maurice Prendergast are among those painters who have created contrasting abstracted versions of reality' in order to convey their own understanding of the phenomenon that was for them, in their time, New York City. In a distinctive and highly cohesive synthesis of already existing strands within his own abstract work, in 9/11 Ground Zero Tale constructs his unique contribution.
Two thirds of the huge canvas is devoted to the emblematio portrayal of the canyons of New York. The sombre columns in dark-purple hues resonate with the smell of death; in the lower depths of the painting symbolic splashes of crimson and vermilion are ominously embedded. Within and between the columns, like windows of the mind, Tale's characteristic calligraphy alludes to the convoluted density of fervid intellectual and electronic actiorn, which is taking place there. Each panel contains a contrasting system of notation' and within each notation no two marks are the same.
One panel, in token illumination depicts a hive of creative activity and other references are made, familiar from Tale's previous calligraphic work. Artists, such as Christo and Claes Oldenburg have deployed their graphic skills to convey the diverse energies of New York; with his distinctive calligraphy Tale creates a new and emblematic edifice of the mind to symbolize the character of New York.In telling contrast at the edge of the skyscraper, hanging by a string, is an old wooden object, a container of some kind - a message of fundamental significance in this work.
Tale has used an analogous piece of equipment in Balkan War (p349), Moving towards this container from the right hand side is a plane, in token depiction, on an apparently, both literal and metaphorical collision course. The colours of the container are echoed in the 'illuminated' window of the skyscraper, and subtly elsewhere in the canvas. This formal device, with the corresponding colours. emphasises the links between the acutely contrasting world represented by the container and the world represented by the calligraphic imagery within the columns. The artist has made it clear that the viewer will search in vain for any religious allusions. The left hand side of the painting, which though separated in spirit, is linked with the other part, in complete formal accord based on colour and structure. Ground Zero is shown. and a possible future beckons, in an elusive yet shining and lyrical aspect. Tale creates a transcendental and visionary light both above and below the devastated land. The language of abstraction transforms 9/11 Ground Zero into the realms of the absolute.