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Chapter Nine of Marcia Brennan's Flowering Light: Kabbalistic Mysticism and the Art of Elliot R. Wolfson
Elliot R. Wolfson, Palimpsest , 2006. © Elliot R. Wolfson.

Flowering Light -- buy from Rice University Press. image --> If the visualization of angelic embodiment can be imagined as a creative process of “embody[ing] that which is not a body” and “giv[ing]form to the formless,” then both a reversed and a complementary version of these concepts can be seen in the painting Palimpsest (2006). Palimpsest so completely incorporates a diaphanous state of paradox that, on its surface, each painterly gesture represents an act of erasure, just as each erasure is itself a painterly gesture. To paraphrase another of Wolfson’s poetic formulations, the painting can be seen as an act that unfolds in seemingly opposite directions simultaneously, as it inscripts erasure while erasing inscription.

The term “palimpsest” derives from the Greek word palimpsēstos , which means “scraped again.” In practical usage, a palimpsest refers to a writing surface, such as a piece of paper, parchment, or canvas, that has been used multiple times, thereby displaying previous inscriptions that have subsequently been erased. Characterized by residual traces of “ghost” presences ( pentimenti ), a palimpsest can be imaginatively envisioned as a graveyard of living forms. To actively paint a palimpsest is to paint what has been unpainted, as the painting performs a disappearance of its own appearance, an apophatic saying of its own unsaying. As Wolfson has commented, Palimpsest “was one of the canvases with which I had to struggle, and to this day, I am not sure at all how the canvas received the paint in the way it did. But you are right that it is a form of apophatic writing.” Elliot R. Wolfson, in correspondence with the author, December 1, 2006. Thus to produce a palimpsest is to undertake a form of negative writing—or, in this instance, negative painting, an act that creates a presence by removing a presence. And with this unpainted painting, Palimpsest writes another chapter in the unwritten book of flowering light.

Palimpsest is a dark and complex painting, and its scraped facade may initially be difficult to look at. The subtle, polychrome surface displays a range of densely textured brushwork, with visible layers of dry brush scraping evident throughout the canvas. The surface of the painting thus exhibits the process of its own (un)making, of being painted, over-painted, and unpainted, as shades of darkness are emphatically asserted and subsequently removed. The result is a fluttering, “negative” white form that seems to hover aerially in the dark “positive” field of the canvas, a ground so deeply purple that it emerges through warm shades of blackened maroon. According to Wolfson, this painting was inspired by an idea in an ancient alchemical text, in particular, the magical image of “blood so red, it was black.” As we have seen, the practice of painting itself has been described as a form of alchemy, as symbolically marking a surface with oil in order to effect the transmogrification of form. Thus in the depths of its formal and symbolic structures, Palimpsest erases and encodes the underlying mystical principle of the coincidentia oppositorum .

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Flowering light: kabbalistic mysticism and the art of elliot r. wolfson. OpenStax CNX. Dec 09, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10611/1.1
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