Friday, September 16, 2011

Another September Update

The first painting finished for the November show and photographed. It's a mood and a puzzle shaped like a portrait. The likely titles decided upon. The artist's statement sent.
All in all, a good day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Moods and Storms

I'm back to work today, after about five days of refusals. My views haven't changed any, but you can only keep up the furies so long. News is breaking since yesterday about the heedless, unnecessary and horrible cuts our newly-elected Mayor is about to inflict on this city. At this point, aside from signing petitions and passing on the usual social bits of interest, it's a relief to feel some distance and resignation. There's only so much you can control - if that's even the right word to use. Maybe 'influence' would be a better word. One has to pick one's battles, as well.
As it stands got my two co-existing downers and a long mental hangover from trouble to murk with daily.

North America isn't used to history. North America has thought, since the First People genocides, that it can control history. But history is really starting to take North America and wring it.

But, as for art and furious times: Matisse painted right through two world wars, but you'd never know it. His work is consistently abiding with pleasure. No one picks on him for that - it's hard to imagine him being of the necessary aesthetic temperament to paint the trenches. Sargent tried it, but the results didn't quite impact. He was too late and long in his fatuous career of painting gilded cream puffs by then.

It's interesting - is the art that dealt with trouble quite as...loved now? You don't hear the names of noted war artists very often. Barclay McClelland springs to mind - but not too many others. Pictorial art dealing directly with war hasn't held up in the mainstream.

Abstraction took worldwide anxieties up, perhaps with better results. Picasso's Guernica is a masterpiece, though he preferred to deal with his friends, dames and mythologies. Notably, there's Motherwell's Elegies For The Spanish Republic. However modern art is loved, it's generally ambivalent about being tied subject matter, or even a name. Divorced from appearance, it could deal with anything without having to actually bow to it. As warfare jumped ahead in inhuman, mechanized scale, maybe that range of distancing it embodied, combined with it's large physical scale, allowed it to succeed where humane pictorialism began to fail.

I'd say representations of war have held up in the media, but they haven't really. Reporter's images of it have been frontally blocked by the government, for starters, and the reporting has been 'imbedded' anyway, as they say. The programs about it are pretty crap. There's been a lot more worthy social art close to home, but it's more localized.

I don't paint abstractly, and I don't think I'm the guy to take on the woes of the world pictorially, either. My stuff is more inward, more hesitant. That said, I wonder who could do it?
Who's painting about the CIA, rendition, torture, right-wing authoritarianism, pollution, machined media, petro-Christianity and all the other things bedevilling us right now?

Cezanne said that he wanted "to conquer Paris with an orange." He did. Isn't that interesting?
That bit of history soothes my soul, right now.

Monday, September 12, 2011


To leaven the mood, it's great to see that Diseased Pariah News has all it's back issues online! See it all here.

But I'm Shopping As Fast As I Can!

Some fucking anniversary.

Things have gotten worse in just ten years.


This puts me in a mood.
Right now I'm hating painting, thinking art is a complete fucking waste of time. A know-nothing pursuit patronized by grasping shits, and maintained by wifty, useless wankers.

This mood seems to be lasting. I don't think it applies to just art these days, either.

Our whole society is currently overextended on rotten moral credit, and no one knows why anyone is doing anything past a certain point, except for the insistent drumbeat to pile up money at any cost. The pigs are running the show, and there's no intelligent resistance. War, fear, stupidity and lies are becoming common currency along with wholesale slavery, superstition and torture. There is no serious movement happening to prosecute the assholes responsible.

I don't suppose it's bad if artists lose faith every now and then. In fact, I'd say, why should we have it in the first place?

Art doesn't seem to be addressing what's going on in a way has any influence, and I don't expect television or movies to address the hideous fucking human rot at the top of our society, either. Commerce here - corporate and it's offshoots - has it's roots deep in slaughter. The fruits of that tree are surveillance, curtailment and fear.

All our claims to morality, peace, culture, and human progress are bankrupt now. And isn't that fucking depressing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Studio Bits, early September 2011

September Update

First Week:

Things are crawling along. Huzzah. Yeah, the painting's going OK.
Sometimes one just doesn't feel like writing pleasant, family-friendly updates.

I'm overcome with a kind of miserable fury today, at seeing a painter whose work I loathe go for sale for over thirty thousand dollars a pop. This is why I have to be careful how I cruise the net - for the sake of my sanity. Porn, paranoia and atrocity are old hat, but work this dire can still dim the available light in the world a bit.
The work is so smugly horrid, so screechingly, plonkingly execrable and derivative, so pornographically soulless and so remarkably popular, I can't help that wish that everyone who paid to purchase one of them comes down with a case of galloping facial piles and and cramping trots. It would do the world a further favour if the only way to remediate these symptoms was to break the painting over the artist's head and set it aflame.

I can't blame my bad mood on parasitical gay art alone.

Here in Toronto, our mayor (and his near-indistinguishable brother) seem set on destroying just about everything that makes this city liveable. Frills like transit, education, health, tolerance, gay rights, the creative class, understanding, intellectualism, peace, trust in and cooperation with government, etc. You get the picture.

Living in Toronto is a little bit like being in a relationship you can't break off, but don't know why.
It's not beautiful. It's not soulful. If it were a person, it would be a capable but joyless dancer. It asks people how much money they make over dinner, isn't sure why 'puritan' is a term of opprobrium, and, in a local joke, says, "Thank God It's Monday"...and yet it tries so hard to do right. I hate the place in such interesting ways, that I've kind of ended up loving it. Sort of.
So, when you have two to put this kindly - OK, I will be polite - barging in and claiming that the city is a mess, a socialist hellhole full of commies and art, a bubbling fountain of ill-gotten gravy over a mountain of gold coins stolen by evil socialists from the honest hands of labourers everywhere, etc., doesn't help the mood.
I was barely in love with this striving, antiseptic, orderly, gung-ho good sport of a place as it stands. Now they're making it even more difficult.

The only good thing about them (The Mayor and his City Councillor brother) is that they've got the populace so riled up they're actually turning out speak, organize and to passionately defend the city. People's hearts are swelling, and their stopped tongues have been loosed. Pride, rambunctiousness and, yes! - even passion - are in evidence all about. This is wonderful! It will be an even more wonderful day when you can walk down the streets of Toronto and feeeeeeelllll that luxe passion in the air all the time, instead of having to find it in the bottom of the freezer, and thaw it out.

What's happening in Toronto seems to be part of a North American trend: ruling via enforced stupidity. It's very scary. It's most evident in the United States right now, with the Republican leadership trials featuring two people who are, to put it kindly, imbecilic, superstitious, manipulative fanatics.
Personally, I always feared being ruled by "intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic", to quote H.G. Wells. But this mucky, pointless sewer of rotten effluvia that's drowning out rational discourse - and even set on actually eliminating rational thought - is far worse.
Canada got a little whiff of it today, as our charmless Prime Minster tried to stir up fears that Moorification was a great threat to Canada. Real classie, thar, bringing that up on the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attack. An announcement by him about the perils of unjust wars, abridgement of human rights, and fundamentalist religion would have been nice. That, and how he can manage to even stand up with his lips firmly rallied 'round the flag of a wayard superpower so fundamentally corrupt that news of it's insincere dealings worldwide reads like rivulets of bloody pus. But, he's a fundamentalist himself, so I won't be expecting any water from that rock.

Well, I'm off to bed at 7a.m. Goddamn.