Friday, April 24, 2009

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A review in Border Crossings by Charmaine Wheatley reminded me to visit Elizabeth Neel here, wherein I found:

"This visual experience represented a turning point in my relationship to the world. I now see it as my first clear instantiation that life, and nature underneath it, is a baroque, mysterious thing that hangs precariously on a framework of elegant reason." (Neel)

"Life inside death, inflating the dead, blowing warm air into the dead, to see if they come to life… Makes the work introspective, extrospective and contemporary."

And another long article on contemporary figurative painting - "Back to the Figure" by Paul Trachtman.
Meeka Walsh, quoting from writer Marilynne Robinson, writes of the “self” within the economic and environmental present:

“In the contemporary world of culture and media, constructing a self is seen as performative, almost a dupe, to be viewed with the skeptical distance of irony. That’s not what Robinson has in mind. She speaks nostalgically of a time when people had sensibilities. It’s a notion I revere but would wager it’s viewed as akin to connoisseurship, and how something as essential and interior as self or sensibility has been subverted so that it now rides on the surface, indicted, is an unfortunate trick of language and perception.”

“Robinson located this power – writing, narrative, the placing and extension of self – in time. Is it possible, she wonders, that time was created to serve or allow for narrative, for what she enumerates as, “event, sequence, causation, ignorance and error, retribution, atonement.”

“It is necessary, too, to go back in time, to mine the past – history’s and our own more immediate period. In recognizing history as relevant and essential, she suggests we revisit it. “It is,” she says, “all the evidence we have about ourselves, to the extent that it is recoverable and interpretable.”

“I agree with her sense that something has passed out of the culture; at the very least there has been a loss of civility. But I have no hesitancy or ambivalence in lining up with Robinson when she says, “I want to overhear passionate arguments about what we are and what we are doing and what we ought to do. I want to feel art is an utterance made in good faith by one human being to another.”

(from Border Crossings Issue #109)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stories and Drawing

Not only are they using Aphex Twin ambient faves from my early twenties in Part II, then pausing elaborately upon the history of drawing and "bedlam" in part III, and more!, this BBC series on drawing appeared the same week as my re-discovery of Lynda Barry through an interview, which I posted earlier. My birthday and miss Barry's are two days apart, which is a fact I shamelessly pounce on, because it seems there is a generally shared life of, as well as a compulsive fascination with, anxiety, and finding spaces for its endless energies to pierce, pinch, and perform. As someone who can't be in the studio all day every day, notebooks and sketchbooks can be a hemorrhaging of the body into the world rather than keeping it in the formaldahyde of the cubicle, commute, and computer screen.

Because the last time I "drew stories" was around the age of 20, its fun to see my drawing habits continue those facial-centric, Hewlett&Martin-worshipping threads as if there's been no lapse. While trying to entice busy friends (who, to be fair, are swamped with so many other meetings and events) to meet and draw bi-weekly, getting back into drawing has a purpose designed for the solitary, and is exactly the kind of action that exists in between studio-validated and socially-validated work, and gives space and life to all those compressed, underused, unacknowledged images and thoughts that become physically backlogged daily.

And I think its also time to start writing stories again!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Drawing Groupies

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Even though the tea shop I chose for last night's Drawing Group meeting was CLOSED, our small group managed to dream the hours away in matching sketchbooks and bad pub music. It becomes clear that drawing groups are fed by kiddish and inventive one-upping, maybe similar to karaoke but voice projection and so-called "moves" aren't required, just bad puns and weird speeches, and the great skill of telling the story of a drawing in the making of it, no matter how badly directed or self-defeated. Morphing Nastassja Kinski with mon-chi-chi, and turning the drawing groupies into Mel Gibson, Matt Damon, and Jan Hooks, I could feel myself resorting to about age 14. A nearby visitor walked in during the peak of a particular tale of puns, and excused himself from the lofty and ever-growing hilarity.

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