Flashing a passing fisherman, or holding up the sky? Is Babs stranded on a desert island naked from the desperate crafting of a raft? Is she yowling at the sea in a state of pure bliss or explosive frustration? Is she longing for an escape, or has she found freedom from such rumination and ecstasy in the present and her essential nature?
Dick, and his portly backside, are also in an ambiguous limbo. Caught between ‘étages’ is he climbing the ladder to explore, investigate, fix, or oversee? Might he have lost a cherished pet, his sound judgement, his courage or his marbles? Does this mark the beginnings of the realization of an impossible dream, or that this project/he is in essence an unrelenting ‘fixer-upper’?
To Dick & Babs, the diptych both feels autobiographical and an archetypal metaphor for the inescapable dualistic habits and characteristics we all possess that have the potential to both exasperate and endear us to ourselves and one another depending on our imagination or perspective.
‘Dick & Babs’ are pseudonyms we adopted for ourselves as young and intrepid global travellers eons ago. We employed these handles when forced to introduce ourselves to other travellers; in particular the vexing ones, the clingy ones, the ones who give other backpackers a bad rap. Dick & Babs could do whatever they pleased, own a chain of cat hotels or a naturist seaside disco, anything we wished on the spur of the moment. These names helped us enliven playful conversation when faced with the predictable questions; ‘What are your names?’ and ‘What do you do?”, and served to keep us on our toes as we played ‘Yes, and….” together. We continue to surrender to ‘Dick & Babs’ when in embarrassing predicaments or when needing to salvage a sense of humour, for example, when confronted with the thought ‘Oh god, have we become our parents?’