Imprinted – Flash Prose 1 (Rough Draft)

Sylvia Wertz
As soon as the words: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts left the Professor’s mouth,
that was where I wanted to go. No hesitation. None. I was going to the VMFA, and
Sidney was going with me. It was funny how quickly the suggestion left my mouth when
I had entered the apartment we share last Wednesday. Just as quickly she replied, “Hell
yeah.” We decided that we would venture to the museum on foot on Saturday.
Once Saturday rolled around, the weather made it was obvious that we would
have to move our field trip to Sunday. Which was fine, neither of us wanted to brave the
cold and the rain. So on Sunday morning, we got up, got ready, swung by Sugar Shack
for donuts and coffee and began our trek up Monument.
We reached the VMFA a few minutes after ten and hurriedly entered the warmth
of the art gallery. This was the very first time that either of us had been here so we
loitered in the lobby for a few minutes looking over the map. One of the employees,
Jennifer, noticed our plight and pointed us in the right direction on where to start.
For two hours we strolled through the galleries, and because we were there so
early there was no one about.
The very first art piece that had gotten my attention was the Tiffany & Co. stained
glass window, Magnolia and Apple Blossom Window. It was more than just a wonderful
piece of decoration; it was the fact that these two trees came together, branches
intertwining, an apple blossom growing right next to a magnolia. The unity of nature. I
took note of this piece of art to later return to.
We continued wandering the galleries, whispering jokes and pointed out strange
things we noticed in the artwork, neither of us knowing the first thing on how to critique
art. We giggled our way through the Minimalist Art Gallery, trying to outdo one another
with our outlandish ideas of what each piece of art was supposed to mean.
The second piece of art that had caught my attention was a French artist from the
late eighteen hundreds, Edger Degas, with his piece, At the Milliner, a painting of a
faceless woman trying on hats in a mirror. It was a struggle with identity and femininity.
Which prompted one of Sidney’s feminist rants, in whispers of course.
As we perused the twenty first century gallery, I found my third piece of art. My
focus was torn from a bedazzled painting and captured by a large canvas across the way.
I made a beeline straight towards it, as though nothing else in the world mattered.
Dean Byinton’s Two Harbours
Exactly what had called me to this particular piece from across the gallery, I’ll
never know. The piece was oil on canvas, black and white, intricately detailed, an
etching in linen.
It was the balance of black lines and white spaces. The five feet by six feet
canvas, filled from the top to bottom, brimming with detail.
Instinctively, I knew. Like the piece was there for me, and me alone. A strange
sense of déjà vu settled around me, and everything else faded into the background. As
though it was all just a distraction.
I looked, spellbound.
The black and white. The light and dark. Life and Death. The mountain range
reaching up to the sky and the base degrading into desolated terrace. Ruins disintegrating
back into the earth around it. The architecture from centuries and millennia long past,
littering the terraced land up to the wide mountain range touching a clouded sky and
down the pit with no bottom, narrowing as it goes down, down, down. Two lakes stand
parallel on both sides and one perpendicular. Two at the tops of the mountain range, one
surrounded by buildings touched by society, the other untouched. Rivers rushing away
through mountains, flowing passed the once great accomplishments of man, now nothing
more than echoes, decaying back into the land. The encroaching undergrowth was
creeping in, wild and untamed. The water washed down around, eroding away
monuments of civilization.
This was Time and Nature, working together, reclaiming what was rightfully
“This is so cool!”
My bubble was shattered by Sidney, who was gleefully sliding back and forth in
front of an interactive piece of art behind me, one that I never bothered to check the name
of. I wandered over to join her, thoughts of the Two Harbours still echoing in my head.
Even as we meandered through the rest of the museum, making sure we stopped
in the Ancient Art Exhibit and the Japanese Wood Cut Prints, Two Harbours still niggled
away in my brain.
So I dragged Sidney back, took a picture of the description and gazed one last
time upon the print, hoping to have it forever imprinted in my mind.