Couples

by on November 8, 2015

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A. M. HOCH, Couple #3, oil on canvas with resin, 48 x 36 inches, 2001

A. M. HOCH, Couple #3, oil on canvas with resin, 48 x 36 inches, 2001

A. M. Hoch, Punk Love (large), oil on canvas, 55 x 34.25 inches, 2013

A. M. Hoch, Punk Love (large), oil on canvas, 55 x 34.25 inches, 2013

Couples—in romantic relationships or familial ones—can be as mesmerizing as swirling eddies or a car accident. The way two humans become entwined into one beautiful mess has been explored in psychology, literature, and film, but much less so in painting.

A. M. HOCH, Conjoined Couple, ink wash on paper, 43.2 x 35.5 cm (17 x 14 inches), 2000

A. M. HOCH, Conjoined Couple, ink wash on paper, 43.2 x 35.5 cm (17 x 14 inches), 2000

A. M. HOCH, Monster Tamer, ink wash on paper, 7 x 5 inches, 2008

A. M. HOCH, Monster Tamer, ink wash on paper, 7 x 5 inches, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many years ago, I began an ongoing series about couples—some real, some imagined, some famous, some very personal. The series was sparked, in part, by Alice Miller’s The Body Never Lies, which I was drawn to years before I was diagnosed with MS because of my longtime sense that somatization is, at least in part, a primal form of creativity and self-expression. Miller’s analyses of various artists’ denial of their own childhood experiences of abusive parenting, ultimately leading to chronic illnesses in their adulthood, was fascinating to me. Her description of Rimbaud’s relationship with his mother was particularly haunting, and her overall insight was clear and harrowing: childhood abuse becomes lodged in our cells and psyches, is re-enacted in sexual or romantic relationships in adolescence and adulthood, and, usually, flowers into full-blown addictions or chronic illnesses in adulthood.

A. M. HOCH, Rimbaud and His Mother #2, ink wash on paper, 7 x 5 inches, 2009

A. M. HOCH, Rimbaud and His Mother #2, ink wash on paper, 7 x 5 inches, 2008

A. M. HOCH, Rimbaud Carrying His Mother into the Ocean, ink wash on paper, 5.25 x 4.75 inches, 2013

A. M. HOCH, Rimbaud Carrying His Mother into the Ocean, ink wash on paper, 5.25 x 4.75 inches, 2013

 

According to many accounts, Rimbaud had an entangled, turbulent relationship with his deeply disturbed mother. Though his verses were dazzlingly free, the knot that bound Rimbaud to his demented mother was deadly. He died of cancer in his late thirties, attended by his mother. Though I’ve drawn and painted many versions of “Rimbaud and His Mother,” and many other entwined pairs, I feel I haven’t come close to exhausting my fascination with the visual representation of the dynamics of twisted couples.

 

A. M. HOCH, Dark Couple, oil on canvas with resin, 36 x 48 inches, 2006

A. M. HOCH, Dark Couple, oil on canvas with resin, 36 x 48 inches, 2006

 

A. M. HOCH, <em>Strange Couple</em>, mixed media on linen, approx 8 x 5.5 inches, 2009

A. M. HOCH, Strange Couple, mixed media on linen, approx 8 x 5.5 inches, 2009

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