This painting draws me in past the red, blue, black, and green shapes, and into the yellow and orange beyond them. As I studied it, a line that I have heard many times came to me, “The only way out is through.” Thus the painting’s title.
That line is a modern rewording of a sentence from a 1914 poem by Robert Frost — A Servant to Servants — in which he writes of a woman relating her daily ordeals to a visitor who is camping near her home.
“By good rights I ought not to have so much
Put on me, but there seems no other way.
Len says one steady pull more ought to do it.
He says the best way out is always through.
And I agree to that, or in so far
As that I can see no way out but through—
Leastways for me.”
The painting does not suggest wading through daily ordeals; at least not to me. The sense of it is more playful, more joyful, like a color run in which runners are showered with colored powders as they make their way along a course and their only way out is through.
Dick Richards is in the Saatchi gallery. He lives and works in Arizona.
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