GRAVITY (2002) by Michael Whelan
Acrylic on Canvas - 43” x 35”
Once when I was being sedated for surgery and I was counting backwards, “99, 98, …” I felt this surge of irresistible calm sweep over me like a vast tide of night. While I floated away I felt myself become totally, completely relaxed. I realized in an instant that I had been unknowingly living my life in a state of being clenched. It was a blessed relief to feel all the tension completely give way to ultimate relaxation—maybe for the first time in my adult life.
In the days and weeks of recovery and rehabilitation that followed and the exigencies of getting back to work, I forgot that brief flash of self-awareness, but fortunately the memory returned one night just as I was falling asleep. With the awareness came this metaphor for the experience.