There is an apocryphal story circulating among the O9A cognoscenti that when Richard Moult, decades ago, successfully emerged from the three month ordeal of The Rite of Internal Adept his then partner on meeting him exclaimed that in appearance and demeanour he had morphed into a certain ‘Anton Long’.
A story which Moult’s later painting Azoth Summer might be taken to represent, for here is an older Adept – similar in appearance to both his aged self and his then paternal mentor – fishing (perhaps in some remote Scottish glen) by “the living water” (Azoth) and which flowing water is full of faces, of masks reminiscent of one part (Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy) of the “comedy and tragedy theatrical masks” that have for decades been adopted by Western theatres and which, as Sock and Buskin, go back centuries to Greco-Roman times.
Overseeing the Azoth Summer scene is a smiling “man in the moon” perhaps in intimation of how feeble we mere mortals are in believing in our mortal endeavours and quests.
Yet, whatever interpretation we may impose on the image, it remains something of a mystery: an archetypal (and a sinisterly-numinous) presencing which words almost invariably fail to describe but which one of our own dreamscapes may, one day, remind us of.
As such, the image is a powerful archetypal presencing and an example of the superb sinisterly-numinous artistry of Mr Richard Moult.
Image credit: Azoth Summer, by Richard Moult