Richard Beale: Thirty Years of Painting the Circle in the Square I don't understand a word, not one, until he starts talking about mandala. He is mispronouncing the South African president's name, I suppose, but don't mind because for a moment I am bright enough to be in the gallery. Then I figure I must be wrong; surely I would have heard if Mandela painted during his twenty-seven prison bound years. So I look at the pictures with the most intelligent expression I can devise. I witness circles in squares on the canvas and guess that his talk about painting the circle in the square isn't about that monument you have to drive around on Main Street, isn't about where he painted, but what. So I stop trying to understand the words and simply feel what the pictures hum. Shadow upon shadow, mirrored treasures sought and found. A man seeing himself and joy in moonlit water, welcoming stars to join him. Flowers unfolding to four corners hosted by a southwestern moon guiding its followers out of suffering. Midnight cat refusing dragonfly tea, trees casting for bird and sky, home to souls lonely and loved. Words on the tip of a paintbrush filling empty spaces, telling spirit's journey.
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