pleased and lucky to receive an email from England, not Africa, offering one sweet deal. this English type person is an artist who sells her works online. she needs someone in Americay to collect proceeds from this country and send them to her. I could do this. I infer the theory that Paypal doesn't exist in Merrie Olde, and tho I could handle the tricky business of dealing with Western Union, her customers could not.
gumption is what wins the day.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Ben Friedlander sent a small chapbook book, a translation of a poem by Heinrich Heine called "To Set Your Mind at Rest" (Subpoetics Self-Publish or Perish 2007). it's a joking, satiric poem ("But if a Brutus should arise / Among us, he'd soon realize / He'll never find his Caesar here: / There are too many cookies near."). what I particularly like about this is its life as ephemera. I don't know from Heine except knowing that he ranks near Goethe as German Romantic Wunderkind. the front cover portrait shows Double H in profile, hand against cheek, with a Keatsian gaze towards some wonder of the moment. I assume this is a modest piece by the poet. and for Ben too. perhaps the poem just struck Ben, and the urge to translate. what I mean by ephemera centres on the lack of driven import. which isn't a slight. you have the experience of the translation and the original, put together in a neat printing. I'm reminded of the book by Aram Saroyan, The Beatles. a 4 page thing, each page consisting in the name of one Beatle. some New York poet (I mean I saw it in a New York anthology) answered Saroyan with The Rolling Stones. this consisted in the names of 3 Stones, and two pitchers for the Philadelphia Phillies. the Saroyan book belonged to Robert Grenier. I remember thinking, wow, you bothered to get this? I get the point now. perhaps the tangents I've just run make my point. Friedlander went to the trouble of producing this artifact. having read it a few times I will put it somewhere, possibly even the bookshelf. at some point it will fall into my grasp again (or I may even seek it), and I'll reread it. given that one can make a pretty decent effort using home options (I don't know if Ben went pro or not with this production), why the heck not make your own books. okay, this sort of thing doesn't count in Print or Die Land, but among the clear thinking, gems like this are to be desired.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Antic View installment 106 now in view. lacuna between installments entirely my fault, I couldn't focus on it. tho my latest effort is more muddled than usual, I consider even that a useful act. I'm working things out. so is Jeff. I'm thinking, what I see on the Poetics list, without painting too broadly, tends towards academic and dull. or what I mean, are these people poets or teachers? if poets, what is the manner of their getting on? I mean that seriously, not snottily. how are they working?
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
the pic below is from Lanny Quarles' Flickr site. I believe them be lotus. I love Lanny's sense of interest and oddity, dunno how the site escaped me so long. and just to say, Ben Friedlander's use of Flickr (link to the right), exhaustive and varied, really is great work. oh and I've added Shanna Compton's pictocompilation. I'm sure there's scintillating perspectives on how only dickweeds post photos online but I love this influx of pics, tho I cannot keep up with them all.
Monday, January 22, 2007
the old dog currently in residence here, hereafter to be known as "Brownie", has issues of abandonment. I am his 3rd, albeit best, owner. when we go out, he can get dippy. dippiness largely manifests itself in his chewing and eating of inappropiate things. he's an explorer when it comes to comestibles, very open minded. in fact, the fewer details I impart, the better, for your sake. last night we went out to dinner. we had taken our tree down yesterday, and ornaments were yet to be packed away. while we were gone our esteemed, visionary canine performed some interesting eating sequences. a number of bird ornaments with feathers for tails were found sans tails. "Brownie" even, intrepidly, consumed one ornament. mmmm, glass... he also chewed a watercolour painting by Beth that happened to be in reach. a pile of my paintings were on the floor, from my sifting process for my show. Beth's painting happened to be mixed in with some of these. when I say mixed in, I mean somewhere in the midst. "Brownie" nonetheless managed to pore thru the paintings till he found one by Beth. that was the one he chose to desecrate. it seems we're in a good cop / bad cop sitch. by luck of the draw, I'm good cop. thus, when "Brownie" goes flippy, he seeks things belonging to Beth to chew. he has performed such operations on my stuff, most recently a couple of paintings that fell within his critical purview, but it appears the greater satisfaction is Beth's belongings. a severe critic, to say the least.
I have added to my thing-in-progress Captain Element. as a thing-in-progress, working its way into the landscape, it's just a mystery waiting to happen. it's a mystery in the process of happening. it's a happening in the mystery of process. it's process in the happening of mystery. you know what I mean.
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 (email@example.com). 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.