• Rose Higham-Stainton

(FEATURE) BRINK by Rose Higham-Stainton


 Iridescent glass shard, found in a medieval churchyard garden, Norwich

Rose Higham-Stainton traces the brink as a liminal state—personal, social, chromatic. She summons, with near litanical urgency, the tipping point or personal brink, in time through an assemblage of thoughts and visual and literary cues, from religious liturgy, to James Baldwin to Quinn Latimer.


The lusty blossom brink of sticky fingers black print ink jet on the meat the water the vessel; of the daffodil’s yellow sweat and brown peel chrysalis; of the Passion Chorale’s can death thy bloom deflower? at Pascal liturgy in the draughty north aisle, south aisle, nave; and of the lamb’s coagulating blood; and of systems which will not hold you, will hold no body carefully but capital; and of colour subverting capital; and of the river swollen and yellow and the chimney stacks under the pearl sky; and of those yellow paint strokes he strokes, in smoky-yellow bistros and zinc covered counters; and of the yellow glow of the wine and the many dull colours of the oyster where the sun struck it; and somewhere else, the brink of a field of salt, a sky of salt. Sky as white as roof or field. As fault —whose fault?—an edge that folds; of future-made; of no tomorrows; of forgetting; of quotidian now bruised blue and pink as a peach to bursting; and of downy skin fleshly relearning; of being somewhere; of going somewhere; of the obscenity in chance patination; of colour; of colour from pharmakon meaning also drug, poison, remedy; of turning; of colouring the turn; of cadmium lemon and cinnabar green; of acidity; of orality; of profane iridescence; of iridescence as contingent; of colour as feelings; of turning the wheel; of breaking the wheel; of handlung, not holding; of losing grip; of fading; of Always and Forever; of Before the Rain; of tomorrow; of not yet tomorrow; of the divine spark of the Gnostics—and the flip-side in darkness; of the knife edge; of the glint; which is the same brink that shakes hope like blossom, and sheds—fear—frayed lace petals flashing opaline yellow—silver onto the jet black tar.



Italicised quotes borrowed from Quinn Latimer, James Baldwin, Amy Sillman, the Gnostics and Passion Chorale XIV, Eternal (the band).

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Text & Image: Rose Higham-Stainton

Published: 23/5/21