Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Time of Gifts

Due to unforeseen happiness, I have forgotten to mark the passage of not only my father's birthday - but Patrick Leigh Fermor's name day (Michali to his Greek compatriots).  November 8 is somewhat a sacred day to me because of these two men.  My father being the underlying theme behind most of my creative work (and his death the defining influence on my life); or at least the source inspiration and deeper connection to an ancient culture that calls me back to the only place that has ever felt solid and real to me: Greece.

Greece has always been a specter lurking in the corners of my mind.  A place I am supposed to go, supposed to long for, supposed to make pilgramage to.  The motherland.  Home.  My whole life has been built around a place I can scarcely afford to visit.  My father ran from it as a teenager to escape things that I have only vague notions of diluted through my mother.  He left this world when I was 17, unfortunately I was too young to ask the kind of questions you only ask as an adult.  He remains a mystery.  All memories I have of him confirm this.
Anger and unresolved sadness kept me for many years from confronting this PLACE (Greece) because my father had died there out of sight.  Returning to Greece is the final acceptance of death and so I have not returned.  
I travelled much in the years following his death, went to Europe several times, but never back to Greece.  Sometime around the age of 24, shortly before my ill-fated marriage, I discovered the writing of Patrick Leigh Fermor.
How?  I cannot remember.  Most likely I was picking up books with interesting covers and found "A Time of Gifts".  I won't go into detail describing his work, but suffice it to say he was the very last of his kind: adventurer-scholar.  The world he lived in no longer exists.  I became infatuated with this individual, and learned as much as I could about him.  His journey on foot from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople, his time in Crete, sabbaticals at monasteries throughout Europe and wanderings around the Caribbean.  PLF settled with his wife in the Mani, a particularly harsh and isolated part of the Peloponnese.  
Eventually I came to PLF's books about Greece: Mani and Roumeli. What can I say about these?  There is no more beautiful or devoted a description, an offering of words, to Greece and the death throws of Greek folk culture.  His descriptions of the miroloyia moved me to tears, and he showed me parts of my own self I never knew were there. 
Thus started my journey to where I am now, my inner creative journey, my fascination with rural Greek death customs; my father's death, the death of my marriage, the death and beginnings of everything.  An Englishman gave me back myself, gave me my culture, gave me the freedom and permission to mourn and weep openly.  To celebrate the absolute, to enjoy the beautiful.  He showed me the way home.

Patrick Leigh Fermor died on June 10, 2011 at the age of 96.   I cried for many days.  A trip was planned for November of that year, where I would finally return home and when I would visit PLF's home on November 8, his name day, my father's birthday, when the doors of his beautiful home were open to anyone who wanted to visit.  I wanted to tell him what he had done for me, what I was creating and working on and how much he had inspired me and how much I related to his life.  Even now as I write this, I am crying.  Not for that missed opportunity, but because Patrick Leigh Fermor was a gift to this world, an actual hero, a true artist.  

So thank you Paddy, for taking me home again.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happy for the Opportunity!!!

Survive my very first Open Studio Tour.  It was so much fun.

I am so happy to start shooting at Aferro.  My up and coming projects "Black women of the World": The sister companion to "Black Men of the World", and Re-Vibe: a modern retro looking at Age of Aquarius and Blaxplotation are both moving along.  Thank you Aferro for the work space.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Dreaming about Zombies

What could be more tedious than a recounting of ones dreams?

There were zombies everywhere. Maybe not zombies. But dirty, sick, violent hordes. You know the routine. One of them came up to me as I fled (or was trying to) and said, "You want to see this-" (piercing her own cheek deeply with a finger and tearing flesh off) "but I want to see this" (touching my skull and eliciting a memory, not mine.)

Shape Shot

Forensic Trinkets

A child's face as a coffee mug. A skull, a mask. I remember reading about how the families of the murdered women in the NAFTA border towns would deliberately stall, pretending not to be sure if the forensic busts made by an artist were their loved ones. So they could spend more time with them.

There is so much pseudoforensic on TV these days. Everything gets solved.

What could we make of ourselves? Faces are the most cost effective thing to entertain a baby or toddler. If you have nothing at hand, you can make a face for a child. Show your tongue, pull your flesh. So economical. We all get one.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Museum in the Tropics

On vacation in Costa Rica, I made a stop at the Museo De Arte Y Diseno Contemporaneo in San Jose.

The museum was a refreshing change of pace and perspective. I felt immersed in a rainforest while viewing the show even though the gallery space was shelter (I almost forgot I was in a city).

The work was seamlessly curated, flowing from one piece to the next. Installations of tropical domestic plants are seen alongside a video of a woman ingesting a poster of the rainforest.  Screens suspended in the air with projections  of the rainforest, and paintings with great palletes that I'm not used to seeing.

I saw very interesting work by two different artists so carefully and discreetly displayed that I almost missed them. One piece by Jorge Warner was tucked around a corner. 3 vertically suspended flat panels of what looked like living gardens covered both sides and occupied much of a small room.

The second artist's work inconspicuously became part of the gallery wall. Jessica Kaire from Guatemala had a piece called Libertis which consisted of a couple of small peepholes. When you looked through,  you saw a intimate domestic spaces like a unoccupied bedroom. The spaces such as this model bedroom felt off-putting, strange, but real. One of the peepholes had small steps almost for a child to look through.

There's much to think about after visiting this little museum. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Cheat Sheet

Growing up and going through school, I always had to make these little cheat sheets which consisted of a tiny piece of paper crammed with as much information as possible about trigonometry or some other subject. We were allowed to bring that sheet in with us when writing a test.

I used a lot of highlighters and different colored pens. In the end, I didn't care much for any content on that paper, but I was always excited to see how the sheet looked--how the information was organized. 

Here is a cheat sheet for experiencing Newark.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


               Last week my husband and I traveled through Illinois and Wisconsin to see family and friends. On our last day we went to the Chicago Art Institute. If you have never been to the Chicago Art Institute you must see it. Some of the highlights for me that day was seeing the following works. In the Asian Art Section is a wonderful video projected artist's book, "Mimio-Odyssey" by the Japanese artist Tomoko Konioke. You can read more about this work and Tomoko Konioke at www.spencerart.comku.edu/collection/recent/Konoike.shtml We looked at some French old masters and we cooled ourselves off by seeing a wonderful small nude by Cezanne and a sculpture of a bather by Degas.There are a number of Georgia O'Keefe paintings there and we were particularly wowed by "Red Hills With Flowers." I was pleased to see there were a number of women artists in their collection and ones that you might not otherwise see including Suzanne Duchamp's, "Broken and Restored Multiplication," Helen Torre's "Extemporaneous," and Maria Elena Vieira da Silva's "Composition." Outside the Chicago Art Institute in Millennium Park is a huge terrific sculpture by the British sculptor Anish Kapoor called "Cloud Gate" nicknamed "The Bean." Also close by, in the Chicago Cultural Center (a former public library) is a wonderful Louis Comfort Tiffany Dome.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

73 Market Street

When I walk down Market Street in Newark on any given day, I look for number 73, open the doors, and take my time with whatever’s on the walls before reaching my studio. When climbing the stairs to the third level, I might hear a video playing on loop or pass by a great sculpture made of boxing gloves. After spending around four months at Gallery Aferro (so far) in the studio residency program, there is one thought that’s stuck with me:

Is it the space that makes the art? Or, is it the art that makes the space?

Gallery Aferro at 73 Market Street is a very old building. I can’t tell you exactly how old it is, I’ll just say that it has acquired a certain character and wisdom. I spend a good deal of time imagining what happened in the building way back when. I’m sure I could find out, but it’s more exciting for me not to know.

There is evidence of the history of the space in my studio as well. I found small notes or wall drawings made in pencil and pen by a previous studio resident. I found myself making paintings right next to these remnants. I've also deduced that some of these drawings are actually a series of lines used as an aid to help the artist figure out where place nails to hang their work.

There is no doubt that these tiny notes in pencil or pen have influenced my work. I look at these drawings with a certain degree of reverence. Somehow, even though I didn't make these marks, I see them as part of my sketchbook - a sketchbook I never had (I rarely make preparatory sketches). I would never consider covering them up or painting over them.

At the same time, you have to wonder - - how much of the intrigue behind this building is actually attributed to the artists and artwork that previously occupied 73 Market? Years upon years of shows, studio residents, and narratives -  bits and pieces of paintings and sculptures built from scratch, the memory of performances, and the many layers of paint on the walls are just a few examples of what’s made the building what it is.

It is crystal clear to me that the space has had a profound effect on art. And, I’m pretty sure that that the art that’s been created in the building has left its mark as well.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

                                      The Veils of Aleppo: Photos of War-Torn Syria

                 These are recent photographs by the photographer Franco Pagetti taken in Aleppo, Syria. Residents use large sheets to shield their homes from snipers. http://www.exposureguide.com/culture/the-veils-of-alepo-photos-of-war-torn-syria/

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What is it like to lose oneself in the image?

San Francisco detective Scottie Ferguson gasps and about to lose it as  his dream of the ultimate beauty is about to emerge from his bathroom (Vertigo, director Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

"It's more a nursing of an image that haunts me, and letting it sit and breed in my mind…" 

This is the reply given by artist Robert Gober in a 1993 interview when asked about the strangeness of his work where he sets up his sculptural objects in what he called "dioramas."  Whether it is a section of a body -such as a man's leg- that appears to be sticking out from a white wall, a disembodied torso-like object that is half-male half-female flaccidly propped up, or the distorted cribs that he calls "traumatic playpens,"  I get a sense that something traumatic was witnessed or felt- so much so that no amount of verbal complexity could pronounce it, and that the only recourse is to transform the experience into a highly sensuous and physical reality.  His installation of sculptured objects qualifies as that reality.  And it's a reality with an overarching sense of loss.

The sublime moving image dreamed by Daria (Zabriskie Point, director  mIchelangelo Antonioni,  1970)
Daria, who loses herself in the contemplation of the sublime blow up above. 

And so in matters concerning works of art, when I hear the word "lose" and "loss," Gober's work is the first thing that comes to my mind. But he is merely one among many artists throughout history who have broached the subject of loss.  As long as radical shifts occur from one cultural, social and political movement to another, perhaps it is reasonable to think that the artist who happens to stride that shift cannot help but feel and internalize the kind of aesthetic, theoretical and symbolic earthquakes and aftershocks that come when their meaningful contexts undergo frenetic transformation.  

There's Nicolas Poussin painting his "Et in Arcadia Ego," living in a time of religious conflict and excessively increasing monarchic authority in Baroque France, and so his execution of this painting must be in acknowledgment of the lost virtues of the restraint, rationality and order of the classical Greco-Roman past.  And of course, there's Edvard Munch who painted "The Cry," one of the most iconic paintings that emerged from Modernism- an almost unbearable, anguished and visceral scream from one whose psychic life cannot cope amidst the dramatic industrialization, urbanism and resulting loss of social cohesion that defined modern life.  

Even I myself am implicated in the use of loss as premise for some of my own work in the past- through the subject of nostalgia and displacement- as I tried to locate myself geographically, and subjectively into the new country I had immigrated to.  

Dr Ellie Arroway in the moment before she loses herself, along with a lifetime of cultivated doubt,  when she encounters the moving image of her deceased father (Contact, director Robert Zemeckis, 1997)

And not to mention Postmodernism! With defining qualities such as skepticism, unease, doubt, and excessive self-criticism and consciousness, what is ultimately lost in the postmodern condition is faith.  

US Army Captain Benjamin Willard hasn't lost it yet, and contemplating but barely reaching the accurate image of the unspeakable thing that happens later (Apocalypse Now, director Francis Ford Coppola)

"Loss" and "lose" -not only are they carriers of negativity in the verbal sense, but even numerically.  

Can "lose" and "loss" ever mean otherwise?  Can their implications be reversed to potentially uphold a narrative of positivity, and in turn uphold some value that we desire to attain? 

Because when values are the matter of discussion, it is "gains" and the "victorious" that we are conditioned to believe as worthy of our attention. We live in a culture fed into by the cult of the victorious, and in so far as this is concerned, anyone negating its treasured values will find themselves sectioned off into the outskirts of the glorified arena of perpetually competitive unrest.  

But what if we disconnect "lose" and "loss" from its widely accepted set of implications and locate it in some place where it can, sort of, shine.  On the other hand, "loss" already exists as a virtue existing with the varied scriptural, mystical and societal values of humility, charity, and self-sacrifice.  So perhaps the conversation here is to carry on the idea of "loss" as a virtue with a potential force and systemic usage as that of the "victorious."

Cecilia, embodying Robby's image of desire, stand in the presence of her beholder (Atonement, director Joe Wright, 2007)

Robby, losing it, in the presence of the image of his desire (Atonement, director Joe Wright, 2007)
Having said all this, in the impulse and the desire to lose oneself in the image, what is lost and where does the transformation lie?  Assuming the image is a visual or mental embodiment of our ideals, desires, beliefs, fears, ambition and so on, and at the same time also keeping aware of the inability of the image to uphold a stable meaning, to "lose" oneself in the image would be the greatest act of blind and ultimately romantic heroism.  To lose is already an act of privileging the other, perhaps out of a greater love for the other than for oneself.  But to lose to something that is fleeting, something that is an abstraction, something that is a mental construction, something that may or may not exist, something whose meaning and loyalties may fizzle off or lean elsewhere- to lose in this manner is the grace through which our completion and becoming mysteriously take place in the heroic act of our forced self-incompletion.  

Patrick Bateman, in the utter and complete surrender of the self to the image (American Psycho, director Mary Harron, 2000)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Halsey Fabrics

    Halsey Fabrics is located at 91 Halsey Street in downtown Newark. I work with fabric to make sculptures and whenever I was in Newark I would visit Halsey Fabrics to get inspired. When I found out I
was going to have a studio at Gallery Aferro as part of the Studio Residency Program I stopped by the store. I asked an employee there if they knew of a hardware store near by. The employee spent 15 minutes researching and writing down names of hardware stores for me. Halsey Fabrics as well as having wonderful fabric has excellent customer service. Recently I asked the employees at Halsey Fabrics if I could interview them for this blog.
    I interviewed Mike whose father and grandfather started Halsey Fabrics back in 1959. Mike and his wife, Jane now run the entire business themselves. Halsey Fabrics is open six days a week from 8-4 on Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, on Wednesdays from 11-4, and on Saturday 10-6. In addition to the store hours Mike works after hours to pick up the fabric at Port Newark. The store has a large assortment of fabric as well as upholstery, trim, thread, needles and anything you would possible need to sew. If you stop by later in the day or on Saturdays the store maybe crowded but unlike many other fabric stores it is organized and easy to walk around to find what you need. At the counter Mike and Jane are experts in giving advice on how much material you'll need or what color would work, and can can give you pointers on how to make your outfit, and what tools you need to use to make them. Mike told me they have many loyal customers that continue to come back year after year. The biggest obstacle though to the business is the parking situation. Mike said that people are driving into Newark now rather than taking the bus and there are few parking spaces, and you have to pay for them. People aren't willing to pay for parking and then spend a few dollars at the fabric store. More and cheaper parking would be a big help to businesses in downtown Newark. Running a mom and pop store is not easy. Mike keeps the prices as low as he can even though he has to pay higher prices for fabric. He wants to keep his customers happy. I asked Mike about the demolition of the buildings across the street and he said if they eventually have to move they will stay in Newark or the surrounding area.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

During My Life

Peanut Butter 
 Eileen Myles
I am always hungry
& wanting to have
sex. This is a fact.
If you get right
down to it the new
unprocessed peanut
butter is no damn
good & you should
buy it in a jar as
always in the
largest supermarket
you know. And
I am an enemy
of change, as
you know. All
the things I
embrace as new
are in
fact old things,
re-released: swimming,
the sensation of
being dirty in
body and mind
summer as a
time to do
nothing and make
no money. Prayer
as a last re-
sort. Pleasure
as a means,
and then a
means again
with no ends
in sight. I am
absolutely in opposition
to all kinds of
goals. I have
no desire to know           
where this, anything
is getting me.
When the water
boils I get
a cup of tea.
Accidentally I
read all the
works of Proust.
It was summer
I was there
so was he. I
write because
I would like
to be used for
years after
my death. Not
only my body
will be compost
but the thoughts
I left during
my life. During
my life I was
a woman with
hazel eyes. Out
the window
is a crooked
silo. Parts
of your
body I think
of as stripes
which I have
learned to
love along. We
swim naked
in ponds &
I write be-
hind your
back. My thoughts
about you are
not exactly
forbidden, but
exalted because
they are useless,
not intended
to get you
because I have
you & you love
me. It’s more
like a playground
where I play
with my reflection
of you until
you come back
and into the
real you I
get to sink
my teeth. With
you I know how
to relax. &
so I work
behind your
back. Which
is lovely.
is out of control
you tell me &
that’s what’s so
good about
it. I’m immoderately
in love with you,
knocked out by
all your new
white hair
why shouldn’t
I have always
known be the
very best there
is. I love
you from my
starting back
there when
one day was
just like the
rest, random
growth and
breezes, constant
love, a sand-
wich in the
middle of
a tiny step
in the vastly
path of
the Sun. I
squint. I
wink. I
take the
Eileen Myles, “Peanut Butter” from Not Me, published by Semiotext(e). Copyright © 1991 by Eileen Myles.

Friday, March 22, 2013

morning hour with painting, Richter, and Mad Men

Still from Gerhard Richter Painting, film by Corinna Belz, 2011

"It's not working." 

It is uttered by Richter after the moment pictured in the film still.  After minutes of pondering the painting in question, the filmmaker Belz asked him if it is because of the blue- to which he replies yes.  

Richter is not alone in uttering this.  It is a deep but chronic sigh that is emitted from time to time in the studio of every painter.  These sighs are the painter's announcements that he or she is recognizing a sizable formal or conceptual conflict internal and external to a given painting.  Presuming that these conflicts are upon which the painting's ability to hold itself together depends on -and perhaps  conflicts for which the painting was undertaken - sighs are the decisive moments that are either followed by the painting's (or even the painter's) continuation, undoing or end.  

Fortunately, since it is a chronic utterance, time eventually allows painters to develop strategies on how to deal with these interruptions to their practice.  From my painting mentors/professors I learned to appreciate that when face-to-face with such a moment, I can consider to: A) just keep on painting; B) try another medium so your expectations are suspended; C) go back to that breakthrough moment. 

It is this morning that I'm pondering the third one, C -going back to that breakthrough moment.

It's not because it is the most effective strategy, but because of its romance.  And it's not just because painting is already tied to notions of the Romantic, but because just the word "breakthrough" evokes energy -an overt, heroic and outward energy: the energy to grow, advance and discover. At the same time it also evokes a more subtle inward energy: the energy at the beginning of something, of one's origins.  

My last reason is because the idea of "breakthrough" was just confirmed in this attached TV episode of Mad Men. I was watching it together with the Richter Painting film this morning.  In this episode, model-turned-housewife in the 60's Betty Draper instills to her 8-year-old daughter a lesson on the virtues and consequences of the first kiss.  

Betty (to Sally): "…The first kiss is very special… It's where you go from being a stranger to knowing someone.  And every kiss after that will be a shadow of that kiss."

As much as it made poetic sense in the dialogue in the TV episode, it seemed to also do the same to the painting practice.  All I needed to do was make the word substitutions appropriate to this discussion in painting:

first = crucial
kiss = brushstroke
stranger = unsure
someone = painting

With the substitutions applied, Betty's lines would be:

"...The crucial brushstroke is very special… It's where you go from being unsure to knowing painting.  And every brushstroke after that will be a shadow of that brushstroke."

First kiss, breakthroughs, brushstrokes, that blue that's keeping Richter's painting from "working," and perhaps many more applicable scenarios -Betty's few lines -plus substitutions- could fit all.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Lobster Lover's Dream

Some bits from a really spot-on essay by Anton Vidokle.
Art without Market, Art without Education: Political Economy of Art

"It seems to me that MFA programs have become a tool of indoctrination that has had an unprecedented homogenizing effect on artistic practices worldwide, an effect that is now being replicated with curatorial and critical writing programs."

"Being a professional [artist] should not be the only acceptable way for us to maintain our households, particularly when most interesting artists are perfectly capable of functioning in at least two or three fields that are, unlike art, respected by society in terms of compensation and general usefulness. I feel that we have cornered ourselves by denying the full range of possibilities for developing our economies."

"Unless hard-pressed by circumstances, we still think that the proper thing to do is to wait for a sponsor or a patron to solve our household problems and to legitimize our work. In fact, we don’t need their legitimacy. We are perfectly capable of being  our own sponsors, which in most cases we already are when we do other kinds of work to support our art-work. This is something that should not be disavowed, but acknowledged openly."

Friday, February 22, 2013

Skin and Image

When the February 2013 print issue of US Vogue Magazine was released, it included a piece on the British painter Cecily Brown.  On page 259 there was a statement by Brown that struck me.  So I marked it with a pen. The quote is above.  

Being a painter too, I can begin to understand what she meant.

From what I know of her work, sexuality and attraction are dominant themes. This implies the human figure, the other most striking visual presence in her work.  Whether darkly concealed, smothered, or surfacing in gooey, slippery and kaleidoscopic landscapes of oil pigments –landscapes that eventually come to form as recognizable places like a forest or a bedroom- the nude body or bodies emerge, by itself or moistly intertwined with another, in justified repose or intimate pose

With such overt and unapologetic sexuality in her paintings, at first it seems that it’s no surprise that Brown mentions the word "skin" in the interview. But it must be more than that: such as the idea of skin as an analogical device or formal metaphor upon where the meaningful viewing, necessary entanglements and deep comprehension of artworks bank their premises on. 

A favorite art professor of mine once wrote: “painting’s analogy to skin is not new.”  It sounds like a good place to start reconsidering Brown’s quote.

photo credit: Kamilla Bello
18 square feet –that is the measure of the skin of our bodies.  It is our body’s largest sense organ.  It is also the sense organ that is always on, in a “constant state of readiness to receive messages.”[1] It is also the outermost boundary of our body.  If put into analogy with our planet, our skin would be the Earth’s crust: it covers the entirety of the planet, it is the last place of contact when leaving the Earth, it is the first place of contact when meeting Earth.  But the Earth’s crust is extremely thin- it amounts to less than 1 percent of the planet.  Whereas skin amounts to 16 percent of our body weight.  This attests to skin’s significantly concrete presence.

And so I cannot help but find a beautiful yet uneasy dance between the words “skin” and “image” in Brown’s quote.  To “get under the skin of an image” feels like the equivalent of watching polar opposite creatures having a love affair that is destined to die.  

Image amasses its power in its elusive, shape shifting, and opportunistic nature.  It defies being exclusively possessed by anybody or anything whether by time, place, entity, language, idea, cause, or even by its object (if there ever was one to begin with!). Whereas skin is simply possessed by one body.

The breadth of image’s reproducibility is infinite.  Skin can only venture, well, skin-deep. 

The image is the flawless and timeless ideal that embodies desire.  Skin is flawed, rife with fissures, and is in agreement with time's conditions. 

The image is the “site of resistance to meaning.”[2]  The skin is the body’s first site of resistance.

To try to “get under the skin of an image” can only mean subjecting the image into an embodiment that it is not constructed to be, and implicating the skin into giving the image a surface that will only render it penetrable.  What is exciting about Brown’s quote is the violation of image and skin’s established conditions.

It is with this quote in mind that I am rethinking my series of photographs taken in certain natural environments in the Southwest and Northeast.  In it I photographed my hands gouging through sand, grazing through snow and sleet, grasping boughs, channeling through gashes in fallen trees, stroking the furrows of petroglyphs. 

As if my lived and sensory experiences of canyons, deserts, forests, snowstorms, and hurricanes aren’t enough to establish my sense of awe and wonder of nature’s otherness, I physically entwine my hands into the matter that contain, shape and define these places- and then photograph these acts!   I am reminded of Thomas the Doubter who needed to touch the wound of the resurrected Christ in order to eradicate his doubt and establish belief in the resurrection.

I can argue these photos as trying to “get under the skin of the earth" -that they are a lesser violation or semantic conflict than trying to “get under the skin of an image.”  But the creation of the photographic images nulls the argument.  When this or that experience is flattened into the photographic print, the sensory experience of getting under the skin of the earth now enters the realm of the image.  It is no longer about the skin of the image, but the image of the skin.


[1] Tiffany Field, Touch, (MIT Press, Massachusetts, 2001), p. 10
[2] Roland Barthes, Responsibility of Forms, (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1985), p. 21

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thank you Aferro!

I want to give a big thank you to Evonne and Emma for giving me the opportunity to work at Aferro for the past six months.  The residency seemed to fly by, as I was able to work on a large scale self-portrait.  

It was great meeting and working alongside such a talented, diverse group of artists.  Being apart of such a creative environment always seems to inspire my own process.

Look forward to seeing everyone at the opening this Saturday and good luck to all the incoming residents!

Monday, February 18, 2013

That Sad Desire

I wish I remembered my dreams more often.  Usually I feel completely tangled up in them when I first wake up. Then by the time I've had coffee and left the house I have no idea what it was all about. Here's one I wrote down before the spell was broken:

I dreamed I was in someone’s house.
I was with a crowd of people, artists.  They were interested in an artist that I know who was missing, though there seemed to be some of his work around the room. They wanted to see his films, and found an old VHS tape of “his movie” which I started to play for them.

The movie was a long (seemingly never-ending) series of micro-narratives, little vignettes each with a little joke as its defining thing.  The vignettes were family scenes, in or around a working class house.  The people all wore costumes, loose, sloppy furry outfits like sad comic theme park animal characters, big fuzzy caricatures of bears and dogs.  The sense of humor in the various actions of the figures was mildly scatological.

I paused the video to explain to the people watching with me (who didn’t know much about the absent artist) that when he and I were in school together, and for a while after that, he had been involved in a more occult and different aspiration in his work, that he saw and painted ghosts and strange spirits, but that later he turned from that and deliberately toward his idea of what is “good”.

My sense was that this film was about that turn to reach for goodness, but that in its form and structure as well as its abject gesture’s pathos and humor, it was helpless to not be an art better, bigger and more basic than that sad desire.