Table d’Hôte
The below four canvases shot as a foursome.

B. F. Graham produced this series of four abstracts in the summer of 2007. They illustrate a complete meal --- cocktails of Scotch Mist, followed by three courses: Steamed Asparagus, Red Snapper and Fresh Rhubarb, for two dining partners, unseen here.

The completeness of their meal contrasts with the incompleteness of their relationship: its circuitous history, spirited present and unknowable future.

Despite an array of à la carte options, these two have chosen to go with the Table d’Hôte courses, piercing epitomes of their respective confusions, past fury, enduring bond, and pluck to go on contending with each other.




Scotch Mist
48 X 24 inches
Acrylic on Canvas, June/July 2007
The first in the series of four Table d’Hôte abstracts.



Scotch Mist is the name of a cocktail favored by the artist --- scotch over shaved ice, with lemon. And it is also a term for “something that does not exist.”

Is this relationship only in the minds of the diners? Or the viewer? What is hidden? A closer look reveals many choices: starters, sides, main courses and desserts that were not selected.

Scotch Mist may conceal and reveal, but the passage of time will make it easier to read what is all around.



Steamed Asparagus
48 X 24 inches
Acrylic on Canvas, June/July 2007
The second in the series of four Table d’Hôte abstracts.



Steamed Asparagus is an apt accompaniment for the duo, that spears and spars, as they gorge and rage and spend themselves in debate, designed to keep them trivially safe.

Unequipped to break through to each other in a gentler, more constructive way, these two fight and clarify nothing. And isn’t steam just a hot form of mist?

Steamed Asparagus becomes their way of taking sides, of getting experience and gaining wisdom.



Red Snapper
48 X 24 inches
Acrylic on Canvas, June/July 2007
The third in the series of four Table d’Hôte abstracts.



Red Snapper is the evening’s main course. Our diners have earned each other’s attention and can now settle down, if only briefly, for tonight’s meal.

In this celebration and re- fortification --- all in one --- can they even remember why they were fighting? Everything seems quiet, but the air’s still unclear. Steam has been replaced by smoke. Could some of it be in their eyes?

It doesn’t matter. Red Snapper has prepared them for anything --- anything but what they find . . .



Fresh Rhubarb
48 X 24 inches
Acrylic on Canvas, June/July 2007
The last in the series of four Table d’Hôte abstracts.



Fresh Rhubarb, the meal’s discomfiting conclusion, has roused these two to fight another day. An offhand remark, one careless aside, and they’re off and running!

He pointed out that no one could digest Fresh Rhubarb, anyway. Taking this more literally than he perhaps intended, she said, “Wasn’t it merely a figure of speech: the fruit was to be stewed and served with ice cream.” “Don’t be patronizing,” he snapped; “Don’t be pettifogging!” she retorted.

What is it with these two? Damned if even they really know, so why should we?
© B. F. Graham 2009. All rights reserved.

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