Saturday, September 5, 2009

Green Things

I've become more interested in Gargoyles since visiting the UK. They were everywhere, these strange faces protruding from walls, with mouths gaping and grimacing. None of them look particularly cheerful, although some were more mischievous. Which was nice. When the gargoyles look pained, you get the sense that the building is somehow distraught and trying desperately to speak of it. Bit disconcerting really.

I bought Mike Harding's A Little Book of Gargoyles and A Little Book of The Green Man to educate myself a little (heheh, dur). The "Green Man" refers to a face emerging from leaves, apparently. Where I'm from we have other names for men who stare at you from behind bushes, but there you go. On the very first page of Green Man Harding uses the word 'grotesque,' which makes me very well disposed towards him. But all this goes to show how very diffuse the term Grotesque actually is. Sometimes anything remotely ugly or bizarre qualifies: a funny face is often enough. It's not enough for me, personally. Gargoyles and Green Men are perhaps overlapping concepts/categories who share a 'grotesque' thematic: eg. humans morphing into buildings/plants. But does any amount of morphing satisfy the criteria for grotesqueness? How much is enough?

Tangent 1) why must it be a Green Man? A lot of faces in the diminutive book of masculine foliage resemble ladies to my highly biased eye.

Tangent 2) is the character of Poison Ivy a "Green Woman"? She sure has a lot of green going on, being part noxious weed and all. These are the deep questions that consume my days.

Pic from Entertainment Earth.

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