Monday, July 21, 2008
Note the sequins and rubbings here… Geddes wrote a list of themes she sees in her work and gave it to me so I could paint from it. Here’s her list: Mythology The ocean String Fabric Horses Longing Loneliness Escape Simplicity Blue Orange Light Monsters Dark Stars People Shadows Red Van Gogh Boats (Sail Boats) Suggesting Medieval Stone Castles with elaborate door and main façade decorations. Comfort Ambiguity Things that come full circle Koi Fish Hair, different colored hair Hands, specifically my left hand Connections Rapture through sensory overload? Fairies Patterns… wood grain, stripes, life Outlines- Silhouettes Heroism Villanism Physical sensations Clouds in swirly idealized portrayals Absurdity Melancholy Somber Overdramatic, wait maybe that falls under Absurdity by taking myself way too seriously. Myself Maggie Annie Other friends too, though less predominantly Awsome jawlines Eyes I hate drawing mouths… fuck it maybe this line will pass off as a mouth Imagination Dinosaurs Partial revelation (that has two meanings here) Climbing Trees Perspective Words Love me please just love me
Posted by antiphony at 10:13 PM
There’s treasure buried on this island. There are four trees, seen from above… I wrote a list of themes I see in my work for Geddes. She wrote one for me. Here’s my list:
1. layers of time. crayon resist dinosaurs and dinner table talking.
2. faith. blindness, in general.
4. observing v. memory. of spider webs. retracing a path when you’re blind. inventing shadows.
5. hybrids, pairs. women dig tunnels. two spiders in one web.
7. nothing (stillness). the hammock or rocking chairs. floating in the pool. and cocoons.
8. love and longing (missing, yearning.) mementos; collections of evidence. Stitching a sweater. invented maps.
9. mosquito. giving your blood without knowing it. encoded messages whispered in our ears.
10. finding mangoes. the collection of wounded mangoes. a mango feast. people teeming over the table. blind and smelling mangoes. human skin colored like mango skin.
11. walking. counting steps. disappearing. stalking another invisible. Leaving a trail.
12. generosity. leaves with beautiful patterns eaten into them. crocheting those patterns.
13. words. reassembling words. lists imply awe. and the absence of words. omens. codes.
14. my dreams.
15. inventing structure. spider webs tug branches into arcs. (leafy bower.) harvesting spider webs.
16. epiphytes. baroque detail layered on top of detail. drawn without their host trees, they still imply structure.
17. crabs. fragile film over a deep cave. offer up your accidental detritus. the contradiction – wanting to simultaneously be seen / stay hidden. trading tunnels.
18. orb weavers. extravagant detail for a temporary structure. faith that the world will provide. (non-action?)
19. buried things. Make maps to these things. Dig blindly.
20. my body / skinny-dipping. defined by the impression it leaves. connected to all the other things that are part of me. be simultaneously invisible and on display. artist as observer v. artist as observed.
21. freedom. Floating in the pool and sunburn.
22. play. underwater movement.
23. losing self-awareness. float in the pool. rooted and watching. meticulous observation.
25. extravagance. orb weaver web, epiphyte layering. mangoes. the crab massacre. how would you paint yourself to blend in to this outrageous detail? extravagant movement: vine tendrils.
26. water. displaced, it becomes evidence of an invisible presence. tides carry news. hiding and revealing.
27. frames. architectural haloes. live oak arches.
28. omens. listen to mosquitoes. attentive lizards. crab detritus as clues. poems in bottles.
29. alter-ego. we each keep one eye open. web sharing.
30. the pursuit of light. and the preserving of light. sunburn. sun tea. you get it by giving.
31. a brave face. painted on. sunburn as evidence of exposure to the light. invented symbols for strength.
32. artificial nature. create structures to catch spider webs. overgrown, it becomes authentic?
33. invasive species. the strangler fig is an evil native. perhaps he will strangle the basilisks. blind wanderer.
34. heat. and sunburn. and stillness. travel by touch through pools of shade. feel the molecules buzzing.
large physical movements
releasing fantastic creatures
myself as other
Posted by antiphony at 10:05 PM
I painted twenty-four paintings. One painting per hour for twenty-four hours. It’s a contrived process that helps me loosen up. When you’re painting so many pages, each individual painting loses some of its weight. It’s okay to paint the first thing that comes into your head. You purge your subconscious of all its gunked-up imagery. You don’t censor yourself so much. You don’t second-guess all your decisions. These are mangoes with eyeball flies hovering around them.
Posted by antiphony at 9:56 PM
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
I want to be assertive; I want to save myself. I want to be beautiful; I want to be selfless. How does one reconcile all this? A meander:
Epiphytes like orchids and bromeliads and air plants don’t steal any nutrition from their host trees. They aren’t like kudzoo vines or strangler figs that way. Their wisping tendrils reach for sunlight, channel water towards their hearts. No greedy clinging. Birds and butterflies love the sweet adornment epiphytes provide their host trees.
People need each other. We can’t get by if each of us tries only to save herself. We need to rely on each other like epiphytes rely on their host trees. A live oak has sturdiness to spare, so an epiphyte takes some of the overflow. I want to share my overflows.
Posted by antiphony at 9:36 PM
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I painted my face, and then I painted my face. I can’t ever paint a thing how it is, of course. I paint how I see it. I paint how I want it to be. How to let people know that I don’t pretend to present any kind of ‘real’ observation to them? I’ll literally disguise a thing before I paint it. In a friendly way. And then my painting will disguise it a second time, but whether or not anyone thinks about painting as a disguising process, at least no one will expect to be able to see the thing itself.
Posted by antiphony at 8:45 PM
So many living beings have inhabited the same space. The Deering Estate makes me constantly aware of the layers of life that have washed over the place where I paint. The dire wolves and the Tequesta Indians and the Richmonds and the Deerings and then the summer camp children roam the estate grounds. All of them with their own agendas and objectives and attentions. It’s actually hard for me to comprehend; I think all these characters ought to run into each other from time to time. I think they ought to at least be on the lookout for each other – the dire wolves sampling the air for scent of summer camp kids, the Tequestas sharing some fresh conch with the Richmonds. At the same time, it feels (feels, mind: we aren’t thinking rationally here) miraculous that two people ever do meet at the estate. The couple in these two paintings cannot be in the same place at the same time. He’s dropped his kerchief, say, at 6 o’clock on the second Tuesday of March in 1889. And she’s found the kerchief at, say, exactly the same time. In the same place. On the same veranda. But they don’t meet.
Posted by antiphony at 8:27 PM
I painted all the animals in my room and Hoy’s room. They’re marching together, carrying banners. They’re proud and stubborn and lost in this strange golf-course green. (Artificial animals roaming through artificial nature.) Hoy has the panels hung in his new house. Maybe we’ll add little cork buttons to the pennants so that he can use the piece like a bulletin board, pinning up notes to himself.
Posted by antiphony at 10:29 AM
These are hybrid human-worms. They slide along the ocean floor with the water currants. There is always water between them, which is thicker than air, and so they feel impossibly separated from each other. They are a little forlorn. Still, they’ll confront you. From their foreheads grow thin stalks that rise up like reverse fishing poles to break the water’s surface. The sequined eyeballs at the ends of these stalks float like buoys.
Posted by antiphony at 10:27 AM
Here I sit drawing one of our simultaneous chalk circles. While Geddes was in Paris for the semester, we collaborated on a series of simultaneous projects to spite Space, Time, and the Atlantic Ocean. Here, we simply chalked the same mandala around ourselves at the same time, opening a sort of portal between us. I read about the design in an art history class. Here’s from a planning email: “I'm studying native American pot-painting designs, and how
the women who paint these pots all paint basically the same thing, but
every woman protests to the anthropologist that her pots are original,
creative, never copied. Like every single one of these women conceives
of the same design – mass simultaneous invention of a sort. So we will
take a description of a traditional design (which I can supply) and at
the same hour, perhaps costumed similarly, etc. We will each draw a
chalk ring around ourselves following the design instructions. The
documentation could be really beautiful if we could somehow get
photographs (paintings?) from above: woman who has drawn this ring
Posted by antiphony at 10:13 AM
The Christmas piece began as a collaged collection of magazine models. I cut them from fashion magazines, college catalogues, advertisements, etc. and arranged them around this Christmas tree. Each character is wrapped up in her own emotional world. This woman in the foreground is frustrated by a tangle of lights. That one in the background on the right is overcome with the soft sensuality of Christmas stockings. Another, who I have clipped away from his piano, now reaches to hang an ornament. They’re crowded into the foreground of a vast, warehouse-like interior, close to each other in space, but far apart because they all pay attention to different decorating problems.
Posted by antiphony at 9:53 AM
the crabs: Monday, one blue land crab scuttled behind the replica wooden shovel that leans beside the studio entrance. then more of them: congregated beneath the levensons’ SUVs and veronica’s little jetta on Tuesday. Sammy barked valiantly, but heeded rusty’s warning, and kept himself far from the crabs. Then today, bicycling past Westminster, I noticed odd splotches sprinkled along 152 st. Crab guts. Hundreds of crabs massacred by traffic.
on my walk this evening, I stared down several beasts (think where the wild things are.) the first was a red crab. Finally exasperated by his poker face, I hopped forwards, and forced his retreat into a cardboard box fortress he’ll reign over for the night. Land crabs put up a brave front: they wave their lopsided claws. (Menacing) Land crabs are basically incapable of retreat; their brains aren’t well wired for backwards motion. A lateral scuttle is choice, forward movement is possible, backwards is a disaster.
Other important crab facts: (I’m approaching the point. have patience.)
“As adults, land crabs are terrestrial (land-dwelling) and are found as far as 5 miles from the shoreline, returning to the sea only to drink or breed. Peak reproductive activity occurs during full moons in summer. After mating, an adult female lays her eggs but carries the egg mass beneath her body for approximately 2 weeks prior to migrating to the ocean and releasing the eggs into shallow inshore waters. A female may produce 300,000 - 700,000 eggs per spawn, but very few larvae survive to become small crabs. The larvae are eaten by fish and other aquatic animals.” (From a UF article about the blue land crab, Cardisoma guanhumi)
Crabs tunnel. As they excavate their caves, they deposit bits of bone and shell and artifact on the ground around their holes. Thanks to crabs, archaeologists at deering found the dire wolf skeleton. At the midden, crabs discard ancient treasures all the time. (I want to be like the crabs in my art making; I’ll dig whatever tunnel I fancy, and some bits of detritus will engage those who watch my work. evocative slats. we all win.)
The crabs make a tasty dinner: men along the side of old cutler road fill tubs to the brim with crabs to sell and share with their families.
I have several short poems memorized. Here is a relevant pair by Edna St Vincent Millay:
MY CANDLE burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!
SAFE upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!
The land crabs are similarly animate, similarly stubborn, similarly delicate. I’ve never seen so many of them.
I think that’s all about the crabs for now.
Posted by antiphony at 9:40 AM
I've done a whole series of drawings and paintings about having two homes. Or, better, having two half-homes (with my parents in Miami, and at Brown, in Providence). Here's Brenna painted twice. Her form outlines the sort of stylized house we draw over and over as kids. The translucent orange shape is a floor plan (from memory) of my Miami house. The turtle defines his own North: the compass on his back points 'north' towards whichever direction he's traveling.
Posted by antiphony at 9:29 AM
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
In Mr. Deering's old stone house hangs a spanish tapestry narrating a hunt. Among the hunters and their prey roam dozens of other creatures, And when I draw them, tracing their stitching with my pencil lines, they strike me as strange. This rabbit's belly is scaled like a dragon's. This bull's haunch muscles curl like paisley. Translated into the tapestry's language of stitches, ordinary woods creatures become fantastic. I want to free them from the tapestry, to let these mutant deer and dogs roam around the estate grounds. So I draw them again and again. I paint them. If they exist in many places, they aren't trapped in any of them.
This womangreets you, her dress a cross between Ms. Deering's finery and Tequesta beads, the stitched creatures at her feet. She's haloed by the entrance to the stone house and its crooked weather vane.
Posted by antiphony at 7:58 AM