|Henri Matisse, Still Life with Pomegranates (1947)|
What to make of these “pomegranate” passages? It’s significant that the pomegranates in the bowl on her coffee table are dried. They’re there to be seen, not eaten. They mean something to her apart from their deliciousness. Malcolm is an analyst, not a sensualist. Perhaps she likes pomegranates for their mythological implications (“They have eaten the pomegranate seeds that tie them to the underworld”). Perhaps they represent Russian literature (“It is in the blood of Russian storytelling to take note of the fruit”). Perhaps they remind her of Joseph Mitchell. Perhaps they “stand for” (to use Mitchell’s words) some sort of personal resurrection. Perhaps their meaning is a combination of all the above, or maybe it’s something else entirely. There’s a subtle pomegranate pattern running through Malcolm’s work (and life); it’s not there by accident. It’s a conscious aspect of her extraordinary art.