Sunday, January 21, 2007

I gave my showing yesterday. okay, did it the hard way. we took a wrong turn to the gallery and I thought we could find an alternative route. which I couldn't. so I was late. but no one had arrived yet. I said we, and that includes Beth, Erin and Beth's mother, who came up this past week to help the sick household. except for a dr visit last week it was the first time Erin had been out since leaving the hospital, and before that it was January 2. Beth's better, having happily recognized the symptoms early on. I had 60 pictures on the wall, the official showing. each of these works keys to an entry in the catalogue that I wrote. the catalogue consists of conversations, literally, with some of the works, as well as riffs on process and whatnot. I will be so bold as to link to Tom Beckett's kind words about my catalogue. Tom is a really sharp and involved critical thinker, I have admired him for I'm guessing more than 20 years, so I am honoured and maybe even relieved that he could speak favourably of the catalogue. what I write about on this blog is what I do, in a life sense. whatever the yatta yatta issues of blogs, which critics from acute to snotty ass have exhaled, there remains, you know, the heart beat, and all that. and tangents are taken, whoop. inestimable (and how could anyone even estimate her?) Eileen Tabios, backchannel, has also given good words about the catalogue. I reiterate that a copy can be emailed to you (allen.bramhall@comcast.net). I have a few remaining hard copies, which won't fit in those tubes of the internets, but I can send it via US Postal Service, a fine and dedicated group of women and men who will stop at nothing to find you. additional to the showing were another 40 or so pictures which I strewed, in hopes that people would pick them up. most of the work, you see, was done on this dining room table, in the world of the living. so a handful of people availed themselves of the showing. so much work, of course the quality varies. I never accomplished much with oils, which is where I began in art. there are a couple of oils that Beth wants to destroy, and so do I. when I began painting 5 years ago, I did so by overcoming the idea that I wasn't cut out to do art, which is why I'd let myself not do it for so long, despite yearning to. when I began doing art, think of it: this large need being assuaged. so as amateurish as those early oils are, they are driven by this urge. I think that urge is damn interesting. and the defeating of the counter-urge, likewise, if not more so. it's so hard for me to make critical decisions about my art because it is so fun to produce. for me, every piece has this happiness of play. yesterday at a restaurant after the showing, there was a child at the next table intently drawing. he, his parents and sibling had just arrived and the 'rents were settling their infant with a bottle. the older child was a toddler. apparently he had, immediately on arriving, applied himself to his drawing, with great concentration. I loved seeing that. the wheels were learning to turn. visual art is such a hello to the unconscious. the neural connection is, I wot, more direct and unfiltered than with writing. dance and music probably are likewise. these modalities give you a chance. Beth and I talked about my work afterwards, and she lovingly said there's a lot of chaff. as I've admitted, I have a hard time being critical with my visual work. yet I agree. and it is not like I don't tear works up to recycle as collage, or cover up oils and acrylics with gesso, economical tabula rasa. the process intrigues me, and each work, "good" or not, survives as a voice in that process. I expect I will be more selective should I show again, because I do finally want the work to be taken as mature intention. trees appear as components in many of my pictures. for quite a while, I didn't even register this fact. the trees just appeared. now I consciously return to the motif, because obviously it is important. I favour a series of 6 scribbles, done in a burst, featuring trees. I said scribbles because they betray the energy of creation. vigourous arm strokes, that is. I did them with watercolour pencils, after which I sweetened the effects with water and brush. a small watercolour called Last Tree My Friend shows an angled pine tree seemingly launching into the sky. the valedictory wistfulness appears to come from somewhere outside the state of heartstring pulling. Beth's mother, who isn't particularly "into art", totally got my catalogue, the elucidation of and respect for the process. it's a surprisingly nifty document. I will note finally the odd beaming feeling of seeing my work displayed. it doesn't make the work "good" to display it, but you see the life. there's a point with any artist, where you turn the corner. that what you do isn't just your little secret but something you choose to share with the world. I know a moiety of crapoo figures in this. I have seen the lamest, most half-assed work imaginable pressed forth as worthy of publication. there are those, you see, impervious to self-criticism. but among those who can assess, a generous event exists. critics of careerism are letting the human quotient overwhelm the angelic. I mean, that's the conundrum, selfishness and selflessness so closely tied. panic not, just leave a little opening for the light to shine in.
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