No, this post does not refer to the dreams of a monk, but rather to the dreams of one of my favorite artists, Thelonious Sphere Monk. By any measure, he is a giant of American music, but many listeners found his music dissonant and hard to listen to. Lorraine Gordon, his friend, and owner of the Village Vanguard, wrote of the disinterest she encountered when she took his music to record stores in Harlem. “He can’t play, lady,” one of the owners advised her, “the guy has two left hands.” Noted poet and critic Philip Larkin called him “the elephant on the keyboard.”
Monk’s music can sound discordant, as if he kept hitting the wrong notes. This is because he was dreaming. A piano has only 88 keys, but there are more than 88 sounds possible in the world; in fact, sounds are infinite. So how does one get around the limitation of only 88 sounds? One of Monk’s dreams was to catch sounds in-between the notes, often by playing two ajacent keys at the same time.
In many of my works, I try to paint the edges between the worlds we live in. We live our so-called “normal” daily waking routines of jobs and family. But we also live in other worlds: our daydreams, our imaginations and especially the worlds we live in while we sleep. Is it possible to paint the worlds between those worlds? The Threshold is one of my attempts to do this.