I heard a Fly buzz

This conte drawing was something I cooked up near the end of my time at art school, it was difficult to photograph; there are dozens gloss medium flies and beams of light painted overtop of the conte (no easy task I’ll tell you what).

The piece is based on the poem “I heard a fly buzz” by Emily Dickinson: this poem is sort of the ultimate expectation vs. reality when a young woman faces her death expecting to hear a chorus of Angels but all she can hear is a fly buzzing around her head. The poem is either alluding to Beelzebub (that she is going to hell not heaven like she’d hoped) or stating in the non-existence of heaven all together. I wanted to capture that deep introspection, symbolism and ambiguity – common themes in most of my work that year.

I heard a Fly buzz (465)
Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portions of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

Made in 2013
materials: conte, charcoal, gloss medium

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