Sunday, February 27, 2011

here and now

I wrote this a couple weeks ago. Seemed pretty profound at the time. It accompanies another song that goes before it. Hence the "afterward." Is it afterward or afterword? Both seem appropriate. There's a chord in here that the song ends on that is picked up from Hum's I'd Prefer an Astronaut cd. Unconsciously at first then consciously later. I used to think that if other people's music somehow found its way into your own that it minimized the originality of the music. I don't think so any more. See Ecclesiastes for amplification. And what's more I no longer believe that it's my music. And what logically follows is that I no longer believe that it's your music either. Equally absurd to me would be the claim that the original painter to derive the yellow pigment that created his yellow paint owned the color yellow and if any other painter used yellow they were being disingenuous. If the ineffable muses that inhabit the thoughts, minds and actions of artists decide to reiterate themselves then artists offering themselves up as willing servants are beholden to oblige.

Your Humble Servant

sing us a song

So here's this new song. Melancholy and longing. Self Pity directing. Cold Island music. Beautiful. Droney. Dreamy. I hear it in the background of my mind when I wake up and when the world quiets for a moment. The melody came from a song I wrote almost eight years ago. When I was not yet I and that other I was young in a way that I will tearfully recall I am now when I look back on this present I from a yet older I. These things just keep recycling and circling. Like vultures. Come to attend our death and usher us into the next.

new song

I originally started this blog because I needed a website to show to these Germans for this performance art festival that I was going to perform in that I ended up not going to anyway.  I applied to CalArts and ended up not going anyway (i.e. I didn't get in).  I studied art, that's art with a capital "A," at university, and ended up not going anyway.

Then I thought music.  Music!  Sure, that's what I love.  What I've always loved.  I'll do that.  Then I ended up not going anyway.  Only I go there quite frequently.  And I like musing on the process of writing, music that is, and so I thought here might be a good place to both present my music and my thoughts on my music in addition to whatever else comes out.

I've been told to dig one hole deeper as opposed to spending my time digging many shallow holes and I must say I disagree.  Digging many holes?  Yes.  Digging them shallowly?  No.  I find my interests and they find me.  The hole calls me.  Black and wanting.  It finds me.  Drawn to it irresistibly.  Once having passed through it, it is gone.  One does not return to one's original mother's womb.  Rather, one finds a new mother and a new womb to inhabit, gestate.  Expelled from one and called by another.  Life consumes life and life given to one is death dealt to another.  On and on.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Disposable Painting

A color field painting recedes to reveal the artist responsible for its creation, begging the question is it the artist or the artwork that is disposable?  Paintings generally live longer than the artists who make them.  Is the artist literally "in" his artwork?  Does he literally bleed and die for his work?  How is making a painting like committing suicide?

Balloon a Friend

All in all, this project saw the release of approximately 200 multi colored helium balloons, each with a gold ribbon that carried a weather proof note asking whomever might find it to email the artist and relate the circumstances of the discovery.

Since its enactment in the Spring of 2008, the artist has received no responses to date.  Maybe all the balloons drifted out into the sea.  Maybe they fell in an inhospitable and dark wood.  Maybe still there are one or two out there waiting to be discovered.

Self Portraiture

This is a recent investigation I made into the self portrait.  Originally I wanted to paint a self portrait on a mirror.  With each stroke I imagined the mirrors ability to reflect and ever changing world would be fixed and therefore undone.  I would paint away the quicksilver mirror and replace it with a static matte portrait.

The first thing I discovered is that it is not easy to paint on a mirror the image reflected (in this case my face) while standing approximately a foot in front of it.  It is not only very tricky to see where the plane of the glass actually resides upon which you are trying to paint but, even worse, when you try to focus on a single concentrated point, your eyes cross.

The process of art making has a tendency of dramatically changing the original intent of the very idea that began the process itself.  At least I've found it so in my own practice.

So now I decide that if I am to accomplish a painted self portrait on this mirror I am standing in front of with crossed eyes, I shall have to close one eye and paint one side of my face and then close the other and paint the other side of my face.  Those of you with a little more understanding of human optics will know what this process produced, although I did not anticipate it at the time.  Two overlapping binary images of myself now stood starring back at me like two conjoined twins.

As I stand there pondering this development I realize that what is more interesting than the painting itself is my effort to find my image reflected back to me behind and in sync with the painted images on the mirror.  It's a "right-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue" moment.  For a second it seems as if all three images of myself will coalesce into one and unify and then it is lost again.

I stand for some time engaged in this pursuit, again amazed that that original idea had gotten me here, not unaware of the psychological implications of trying unify oneself, and I conclude that this now is the most interesting aspect of the work.  But how to show it?  Only I can stand in front of these painted images of myself and have this experience.  I imagine that I could paint the portraits again, on transparency, and then hang the transparency in front of me thereby setting up the same circumstances I found so interesting in looking into the mirror myself.

I had not planned on going out this afternoon, but I did not have any transparency.  Transparency had nothing to do with the original idea.  It was all about a mirror.  I had been looking for mirrors for weeks and thought I had finally found the right one.  Again, the idea has a funny way of getting what it wants, when you let it, and it will take you to places you had not expected to go.  So for art's sake I'm out the door to get some transparency.

I return, tape the transparency on top of the mirror and again paint another binary self portrait.  Finished I hang the transparency from the ceiling so that it floats in front of my face at approximately the same distance that my face floated in front of the mirror.   Setting up the camera and tripod in front of my seated self and the floating binary portrait I began to photograph the situation, again thinking this the end of my means.

As I'm trying to position myself to get that just right photo, I realize that I can not only move my physical body but my literal breath can move the floating transparency in front of me to a more desired position.  Now this becomes really interesting.  Two transparent, floating and overlapping binary images of myself being pushed and pulled into greater alignment or misalignment with myself by my very breath.  Obviously I must capture this process now with video.

When painting becomes photography becomes video.

Brice Marden is a Sexist Pig; The Seasons: A Feminist Revision; In Honor of International Women's Day

This is Brice Marden's The Seasons (Large Version) (1974-75).

This is the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas where the large and small versions of The Seasons are exhibited.

This is the performance I did in front of The Menil Collection on International Women's Day.  I wore a dress and an apron and hung the unstretched canvases on a clothesline attached to the columns of the iconic architecture of the building.

This is an excerpt from a longer video entitled The Artist at Work in His Studio.  It functions as an ancillary work to The Seasons Revised performance and video by documenting the anti heroic process by which the canvases were "painted."

Note:  It is recommended to run both videos simultaneously.