Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Crazy Time (In A Good Way)

Dear Enraptured Readers:

Not much is happening above ground that's evident, but up in my sky-high studio in the clouds, a great deal is going on.

I've been scooting around town on my bicycle, carting home all sorts of found goodies on it's ample side-carriers, and making fun home-made stage sets with them. I think I've got half the Leslie Spit's cast off metal junk in storage back home at the moment. Twigs, rocks, metal, fragments of this and that, tubing, glass, toys...you name it, it's probably lurking somewhere around the place. Cycling around, clanking and grumbling, I think I'm starting to look more and more like one of those crazy old coots one sees about, weathered by the vicissitudes of fate, doing an imaginarily brisk rag and bone trade.
All these things I'm piling up, tying and ragging together, arranging and re-arranging (whilst cursing and sweating) into nifty and provocative 'settings' that I'm photographing and sketching. These should form a kind of framework that's intriguing and evocative, neither background or foreground, into which I can work all sorts of other pictorial elements. At least in theory. Well, we'll see how this goes.

It's all a lot more hands-on, creative and meaty than the kind of computer-dependent photo-collaging I really starting kicking with, in 2003 and 2004. At the time, that had a real sense of digging into something meaningful for me, and was an evocative and flexible tool. By 2005, though, that had already gotten a bit more uncreative and worn- or at least I had. I was distracted by distressing woes, and got too dependent on technical distractions to carry the weight of the work. Uh-oh.
In the few years since then, I've been veering around a bit, trying this and that, trying to find that visceral sense of newly creating again. Not without some merit - I think the architectural ("shrub") paintings, were a necessary search, and that a lot of the still lifes turned out quite nicely. And the last show felt like I was getting back on the saddle.

So - yes! I'm building all sorts of funny things around the house, and photographing them like mad. Wish me luck.

It's interesting feeling a lot of walls dissolving - sketching, photographing, designing, inventing, re-photographing, mashing stuff together....a lot of hands-on, unexpected and intimate weirdness. This is bringing up new possibilities to access, or get near the kind of prescient ambiguity needed to show some of the heavy stuff I'm trying to deal with, with all this - grief, loss, trauma.

For whatever reason, I've found that whenever I've tried to take a break and swerve from this - well, darkness is the first word that comes to mind - the work flattens out.
I don't know if this is because of something I've been through, personally, or an external set of metaphors I work best with expressing feelings and intensity through. I don't know if it's because society needs a certain set of symbols at any given time to understand what's in a work, and artists reflexively work with those setups whether they're personal to them or not - though sometimes artists may internalize and believe they 'are' those things. I do not know.
Whatever the case, I have to keep myself directed toward the ambiguous and difficult, or else I seem to lapse into a terrible superciliousness.

Another thing I'm interested in right now is the feminine in my work - and - well, that's a whole other blog post.

In almost unrelated news, I had my first ever acupuncture, and first-ever chiropractic appointment as well. Both, I can say, have been marvellous. Not uninspirational! Ain't that grand?

More soon....

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