Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Boxes are packed..

The truck is full of rolls of paper, both blank and full of paintings. A couple of boxes of research materials and art materials will join the rolls and I will set out tomorrow for Ragdale Foundation for a 2 week residency to work on His suit, hirsute,powersuit and Ophelia and other things. I will be posting, perhaps daily. Watch this space.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Little History, please

On first look the new work appears to be a radical departure from what I have done before. Indeed, it does look different. Large, loose drawings predominate. Swaths of paint, smudges of deep, black charcoal. But the work grows out of the old impulse to tell a story. When you look back over my history, not only does story dominate, but the techniques of multimedia drawing , albeit on a much smaller scale, are also present in my artists books. Desire, Right Hand Redemption, Whispers, Shoah all began as drawings. Even the sculptures The Gift and From the Soul are drawing intensive.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ritual objects

One of the ideas rattling around in the studio has to do with the suit as ritual object. The disembodied suit is a receptacle of potential power...but only potential. Like the African masquerade costumes, it only releases its mysterious power when inhabited by a body. That body then becomes the powerful one. The personality and even the body of the wearer is subsumed by the resident spirit of the ritual object. So this suit, one of the first disembodied suits, floats in the air, above Ophelia's flowers, full of potential. I find it both lighthearted and malevolent at the same time. It is liminal object, neither one thing nor another, which, if I remember my brief reading of ethnography a few years ago, is one of the hallmark characteristics of ritual objects or events.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A bit about Ophelia

The Ophelia drawings are separating out as singular installation. She accosted me as a single character last spring and I have been listening carefully to discover her story. There is much I know about her and much I do not. She is from outside a small, rural, cow town. The cow lot is right inside the city limits and you are greeted, entering the city limits from the south by both a HUGE fiberglas cow and the scent of the cow lot. She has moved to "the big city" with insubstantial dreams of success. She is remarkably passive and reticent in her daily life, which means she is the same with me, her scribe.She is drowned within her own life, so I call her Ophelia.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A new day in the studio

Today is the first day of journaling this new change of artwork. I have been known for years as a maker of artists books. For sometime now I have resisted that pigeon hole. I think of myself as a storyteller, who often uses the systems and practices of artists books to tell the story. Increasingly, over the last 5 years or so, and accelerating since my move into a new studio, the form of storytelling that has become primary is installation. Whole rooms become my canvas and my stage. Now it seems that even that is changing in practice. Books remain...sometimes at the very center of the installation. But the stories now are more abstract, less linear. The narrative is mysterious. There are several projects I am working on: Emotional Locations His Suit,Hirsute,Powersuit Just Looking Stash Just Looking will be in the gallery this summer. Stash is scheduled for 2010. Watch this blog. Over the next few weeks I will be working hard on His Suit,Hirsute,Powersuit. The drawings that will form the installation are of various sizes...but the core drawings are 5 1/2 to 6 feet tall. The smaller drawings, dubbed the Ophelia drawings, are likely a whole separate installation.