Wednesday, January 5, 2011

226. Artist’s Statement

My artwork investigates the way vision distorts the world, always returning images trapped in conceptual frames that present reality of fragments rather than as a continuous and sinuous whole.

                                                   I find myself trapped by the scents of the world around me, holding me as if in a sac, and what are most palpable—and what I make most palpable—are the smells of our manufactured life.

                                                                                  Even as a child, I was obsessed by objects, believing them the isolated remains of the dead—even a ticket to a movie or a hair ribbon curled on a dresser were evidence of a life lived through to the end.

                                                                                                                                My work focuses on the idea that everything holds within it the possibility of making a sound and that we, as human beings being human in the world, have the obligation to make their sounds.

               I have been influenced by only one thing: the process of living the only life I have ever had.

                         It started for me with film, not with movies, but with the film of pond scum on the surface of water, and the sense it gave me that nothing was perfect or completed, that everything was flawed and being added to, and that the more that was added to anything the more it was flawed.

                                                     I consider myself a collagist, but the pieces I collage together are dried puddles of oil paints.

                                                                Encaustics are earthy media—smelling of beeswax so strongly that we want to eat them, that we imagine honeycombs full of paint or bees gathering paints from the flowers, each paint the color of the flower from which it was stolen.

                    We are all documentary filmmakers.

                                                                                When my brother pushed me off the roof of the family garage, I don’t remember the falling or the landing—I remember only the leaving from the roof.

                                        So it was that I discovered that I had remembered everything backwards, always replacing the victim with the perpetrator.

                                                                                               The goal was to unlearn everything I had learned to do and to learn how to do everything “wrong.”

                                                                                                                    What is the substance least likely to be considered a medium for art? I would ask myself and then try to use it.

               Soon my studio was covered with them, and eventually the idea of using canvases at all disappeared from my consciousness.

                                                                                       In a way I knew what I was doing.

My process was simple: letters and layers, and then letters and layers again, producing not a text but a textscape.

                                           I seem to have remembered that Brancusi had done something similar, and Klee as well, but I was wrong on both counts.

                                                                                                              Not sleeping was a way to change my perspective, and it served to make my life even more surreal than it had been before.

                              For I see the body as the central work of human art. For I see the body as malleable and stable. For I see the body as an object. For I see the body as the soul of the person.

                         Every piece I’ve made to be something different at different times of the day, in different kinds of light, in the daily recirculation of natural light.

                                                                                                              Only in the dark can the light have its power.

                                             Sleep is my only source of inspiration, because it is my only source of dreaming.

                                   Each painting I consider a song, so each has lyrics, but I don’t know what they are, because the paintings are mysteries of the earth.

                                                                                                                In that way, I could imagine that I lived within one of them and that the light that radiated from each came initially from me.

                            By the end, I hadn’t found a solution. I had found something more valuable. I’d found the problem.

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