December 23, 2016

"Gorgeous Nothings" Envelope poems and paintings

Emily Dickinson's Envelope poems



 

This morning I came across a review of the book The Gorgeous Nothings, which highlights Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems. I was immediately reminded of the Envelope Paintings of my Facebook friend and artist Julia Schwartz, so I thought I'd share. 

Julia Schwartz, Envelope paintings
Julia Schwartz, Gouache on found, repurposed envelopes, various dimensions, 2016

Julia Schwartz, Envelope paintings
Julia Schwartz, Gouache on found, repurposed envelopes, various dimensions, 2016

Julia Schwartz, Envelope paintings
Julia Schwartz, Gouache on found, repurposed envelopes, various dimensions, 2016

Julia Schwartz, Envelope paintings
Julia Schwartz, Gouache on found, repurposed envelopes, various dimensions, 2016

Julia Schwartz, Envelope paintings
Julia Schwartz, Gouache on found, repurposed envelopes, various dimensions, 2016

Julia Schwartz, Envelope paintings
Julia Schwartz, Gouache on found, repurposed envelopes, various dimensions, 2016

Julia Schwartz, Envelope paintings
Julia Schwartz, Gouache on found, repurposed envelopes, various dimensions, 2016

Julia Schwartz, Envelope paintings
Julia Schwartz, Gouache on found, repurposed envelopes, various dimensions, 2016

Julia Schwartz, Envelope paintings
Julia Schwartz, Gouache on found, repurposed envelopes, various dimensions, 2016

If I could curate a show with all of these lovely pieces side by side I would! Here is the full article which was posted by Tupelo Quarterly and written by Hannah Star Rogers. Sounds like a good idea for a last minute Christmas gift too!

Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems Hold New Pleasures


 
Emily Dickinson’s The Gorgeous Nothings offers an incredible inquiry into the material practice of Emily Dickinson’s poetry and an argument for why we should take not just the visual culture of poetry into account, as so many new editions of Dickinson’s poetry do, but also the materiality—as both constraint and possibility.
The Gorgeous Nothings, from Christine Burgin/New Directions, edited by Marta Werner and Jen Bervin with a preface by Susan Howe, is the first publication of Emily Dickinson’s complete envelope writings in facsimile from her visually-oriented manuscripts, rendered here in full color and arranged as if they were pressed into a scrapbook. The book is no doubt the dream of poetry and visual culture scholars (very literally as it took Werner, a Dickinson scholar, and Bervin, a visual artist, to bring the book together), but beyond important academic contributions, this book is a lot of fun to open and toss through as though it was a box of Grandmother’s letters—if your grandmother was the Belle of Amherst.
The editors made great choices that allow us these pleasures: the facsimiles are collected together in such a way that we can enjoy the puzzle. The book replicates the material experience of opening an archive, while the shape of the envelope and text is detailed for legibility in schematics that reflect the envelopes’ shape and dimensions. A 252 gives us a sense of the Dickson we recognize, while adding an the extra layer of the material constraints of the envelope:
ED2 copy
What is added by knowing that Dickson met the corner of the page with the word “power,” and arranged her lines to fill the space, gives us a new sense of the space that the poem occupies and of her agility in working not only in acoustic constraints and vital rhythms, but also in another layer of formal concerns. Even a glance at the forms of the envelopes tells the reader something magical is happening in the details of the poems:
ED1 copy
Dickinson’s work has been unfolding for us slowly, revealing her mastery in new ways. First, as Howe writes in the preface, in the 1951 Johnson edition with those characteristic amazing capitals and dashes, then with the word lists of alternate possibilities, and finally, here, with the full materiality of her envelope letters. Maybe it is only now that the reading world is ready to embrace the found and the forgotten in this work, that we are really ready to revel in the glory of the envelope poems. Our own material turn is making these artworks no longer something difficult or illegible, but a celebration of the parts of her poetry that only words not born in typeface can offer.
What may not be immediately legible in the material constraints surely informed the publication choices regarding what parts of the manuscripts would be preserved. These acts of legitimation may have been a part of creating the Emily Dickinson legacy. Perhaps “scraps” (the Dickinson community’s easy reference word for these poems) did not a major poet make, particularly if they came from a woman who largely wrote for herself. In any case, the poetry universe is certainly ready for a revised visual understand of Dickinson’s work that this text brings us.
Yet another wrinkle in the story of why this is the moment for considering the material elements of these poems may be the digitization project at Amherst College’s Archives & Special Collections, which preceded this edition. Poets (and indeed humanists more generally) are being asked often to account for the effects of technology on their work. In this case, the appearance of Dickinson’s work in a digital form precedes an important account of new dimensions of her poetry. Rather than simply spreading copies of her work more broadly, as in so many digital humanities projects, a real discovery and novel way of thinking of Dickinson’s work has been revealed by its digitization. Of course, it has long been possible to imagine an exhibit (as Howe does) or color copies of these poems being created for a book, but the ease and availability of scanning may have given both affordance and occasion to study the material aspects of this work.
Bervin’s essay also leads us toward a new image of Dickinson. Rather than a poet grabbing at envelopes when she was struck by inspiration, Bervin calls our attention to the variety of ways the envelops are folded and cut, suggesting that the poet had prepared these envelops in advance for the moment when an inspiration struck. Her lines flow across surfaces that we perceive only by her attention to them: stops at corners or folds and changes in handwriting and letter size to accommodate her poems to the space the material alots, while transforming the envelope to make spaces for words which readers might not see without the poet filing them. This preparation points not just to thrift, but to how Dickinson perceived her poems as objects rendered with care, what Howe calls, “visual productions.”
This curation of the envelope poems reveals the way the poet turned the borders of the envelopes that she cut and tore into shapes to write on into constraints to complicate her poems: making them fascinating visual objects. Like metrics, rhythms, and rhymes which structure as they aestheticize, Dickinson’s envelope offered her a new method for inspiration. The folds and corners of her thrifty paper uses create new layer of self-imposed limitation which generated new possibilities for the poem. The Gorgeous Nothings is proof that one of our most important poets can still amaze and teach us new thing about the practice of poetry.
 

November 20, 2016

How To Be A Better Painter




So, this happened today. My favorite and most useful tool suddenly gave out on me. I can't even remember how many years I've had it or how many palette knives I've purchased since (that were never half as good), but it's been a constant in my painting life for... like... ever....
Blah, so much for reliability.

Samantha Palmeri, broken palette knife


Samantha Palmeri, broken palette knife

Samantha Palmeri, broken palette knife

Anyhow, in other pragmatic news today.
Do you ever have one of those moments in the studio when you realize you're standing way too far, like three feet away from your painting wall and you're thinking why can't I see what the hell I'm doing??

How To Be A Better Painter: stand closer to the fucking canvas

November 16, 2016

Artist of the week: Susan Rothenberg

My first artist crush, Susan Rothenberg

Ah the simple pleasures of painting. All those gorgeous painterly brushstrokes! You feel and see her every movement on these canvases. When you stand in front of a Susan Rothenberg painting you become a witness to her very personal viewpoint, making it an experience rather than just a painting. She sets a stage for you to feel you are a participant in.

Thomas Micchelli
Rothenberg begins with negation, cleaving away all that’s inessential, then reaches forward and backward in time, gathering whatever she needs, probing inward toward formalism and outward toward experience, one hand in the clay and the other in the air.
In a career that spans over 40 years, expectedly there are some paintings I am much more in love with than others so here I present some of my absolute favorites...

Susan Rothenberg Dogs killing rabbit
Dogs Killing Rabbit, 1991-92, oil on canvas, 87 x 141 inches

"A lot of my work is about melodrama. I wait for Bruce to fall off a horse and then I go, 'Oh, okay, the horse’s legs were there, the fence post was there, his hat flew off there...'"

- Susan Rothenberg

Susan Rothenberg Accident #2
Accident #2, 1993-94, oil on canvas, 66 x 125 inches
Susan Rothenberg Calling the dogs
Calling the dogs, 1993-94, oil on canvas, 69 x 65 inches

Susan Rothenberg With martini
With Martini, 2002, oil on canvas, 76 x 87 inches

Susan Rothenberg Blue Flip
Blue Flip, 1989-90, oil on canvas, 55 x 46 inches

Susan Rothenberg White deer
White Deer, 1999-2001, oil on canvas, 91 1/2 x 112 inches

Susan Rothenberg Blue u-turn
Blue U-Turn, 1989, oil on canvas






Susan Rothenberg Galisteo creek
Galisteo Creek, 1992, oil on canvas, 112 x 148 inches

Susan Rothenberg Falling
Falling, 2001, oil on canvas, 84 x 72 inches


Susan Rothenberg Four color horse
Four Color Horse, 1976, acrylic and flashe on canvas, 67 x 112 inches

Susan Rothenberg 4 Kinds
4 Kinds, 1991, oil on canvas, 52 x 88 inches

Susan Rothenberg Dog and snake
Dog and Snake, 2004-05, oil on canvas, 49 3/4 x 36 1/2 inches
Susan Rothenberg Untitled (geese)
Untitled (Geese), 1999, Etching, aquatint, and sugar-lift aquatint on chine collé, 13 11/16 x 20 1/2 inches
Susan Rothenberg the corner
The Corner, 2008, oil on canvas, 71 x 57 inches
Susan Rothenberg Crying
Crying, 2003, 5 color lithograph/screenprint, 34 x 35 inches

Steak and Wine, 2000, oil on canvas, 81 x 91 inches



Susan Rothenberg painting
[I've searched all morning for the title of this painting. If anyone knows the image details please let me know]





Susan Rothenberg Hawk
Hawk, 1993-94, oil on canvas, 37 5/8 x 63 5/8 inches

Susan Rothenberg
Susan Rothenberg in her studio


Further looking and reading:
Sperone Westwater Gallery
art21
BLOUINARTINFO
MutualArt







Current Exhibition at Sperone Westwater Gallery
4 November – 20 December 2016
Susan Rothenberg




November 9, 2016

Artists are needed in times like these

I'm not quite sure how to go about my day today, November 9th, 2016.
I thought perhaps I'd just sit here for hours liking and sharing all my friend's posts on Facebook in some sort of post traumatic solidarity. Maybe go do some meditating, or an extra early happy hour at some point... I am just about the most apolitical person I know and even I cried when I saw the words 45th president of the United States. It's hard to go make art when so much is going on in the world. And then I read this post by Matthew Weinstein and I thought, Yes, that's beautiful. So rather than just share it with my Facebook friends I thought I'd share it here as well.
Artists get back to work. We are needed in times like these. Think of the artists who, in grotesque times, turned revulsion into imagery and gesture, and through acts of passionate creativity gave panicked and grieving people an iconographical mirror. And when this time is past, and it will pass, people will look back at it partially through our images. Our gallows humor, beauty lust, anger, sarcasm, hysteria and rigor can make of this time something more than one of isolation and sadness.
The act of retrenchment into one's work is an insistence that the culture of creativity, liberality and love is not vanquished. Making art is an act of love. Love for one's self, love for a world that one wants to insert one's work into, and love for a world that seems to be always just out of our grasp; that we keep grasping for, because that's what artists do.
And like all love, the love of an artist for the world, which most of the time has no need of us, can become an immense rage; one fueled by betrayal and disappointment. But within art, rage can be transformed into a benevolent model of fury; an insistence that people who devote their lives to love and creativity are fucking planted in the earth, that inventing one's reality is not an escape but a stance. We don't have to like each other's work, but we need to respect each other for making work. And we need to hang with each other.
Let's make our best work, see each other's shows, and argue with each other about things so obscure that to the rest of the world we seem like cats lunging at shadows on the wall. There is nobility in caring about things; believing in things, and insisting that the world needs obscurity as much as it needs clarity.
A work of art can be a point in a triangulation between it and two people. This is valuable.
Art can be a model of keeping love alive when love seems dead.
Let's get through this day. Let's be with each other. Let's make our best work.


October 26, 2016

Ida Applebroog: Artist of the Week


Ida Applebroog artistMarginalia (Crawling Man), 1996, oil on canvas, 32 x 72 inches

Ida Applebroog: One of my favorite artists from what seems like a lifetime ago, when I was all about psychological performative painting. A fascinating artist who got a later start in the artworld, but has managed to successfully sustain it even up until now at age 86, Ida Applebroog is a huge inspiration. This was one of the most difficult artists of the week to post because she has so much work, I couldn't decide which were my favorites!


Ida Applebroog artist
  Modern Olympia (after Manet), 1997-2001, Oil on gampi on canvas, 4 panels, 73 x 148 inches

Ida Applebroog artist   Marginalia (goggles/black face), 1996, Oil on canvas, diptych: 16 x 14 inches and 14 x 18 inches


Ida Applebroog artist

         Marginalia (hand on forehead/squatting), 1996, oil on canvas, each 16 x 16 inches


Ida Applebroog artist

I'm rubber, you're glue, 1993, oil on canvas, 99 x 65 inches

Ida Applebroog artist
Winnie's Pooh, 1993, oil on canvas, 86 x 84 inches


Ida Applebroog artist
K-Mart village I, 1989, oil on canvas, 5 panels, 48 x 32 inches


Ida Applebroog artist
         Emetic Fields, 1989, oil on canvas, 108 x 202 inches


Ida Applebroog artist
Sure I'm sure, 1979, ink and rhoplex on vellum, six panels, 12 x 9 ½ inches each


Ida Applebroog artist
Sure I'm sure and the following two images are part of the provocative series of 10 offset books published and distributed by Applebroog from 1977-1981. She called them "performances" and titled them Dyspepsia Works
"Applebroog produced editions of 400 copies cheaply, and mailed them off to friends or acquaintances, or to artists whose work she admired. Eleanor Antin's postcards, graffiti by Jean-Michel Basquiat or Keith Haring, or Jenny Holzer's sheets of "truisms," pasted on bus stops, alongside notices of yoga lessons, kittens, or second-hand furniture for sale, are other examples of not-for-profit artworks, ingeniously and anonymously distributed, through which, without that having been precisely their intention, the artists all became famous."*
*from Art And Moral Dyspepsia by Arthur C. Danto found in Ida Applebroog: Nothing Personal, Paintings 1987-1997

Ida Applebroog artist

Ida Applebroog artist
  Thank You Very Much, 1982 (detail) ink and rhoplex on vellum, 7 panels, 10 ½ x 9 ½ inches each

Ida Applebroog artist
Tobias, 2005, unique digital photograph with mixed media on gampi paper

Ida Applebroog artist
Good Women (Bettie), digital outtake, 2005
Unique digital photograph with mixed media on gampi paper, 35 x 47 inches

Ida Applebroog artist
Monalisa, 2009, mixed media on canvas, 3 panels, 104 x 77 inches


Here's the article and image that inspired this post. Thanks Hyperallergic!
http://hyperallergic.com/329998/drawing-became-ida-applebroogs-means-communicate-outside-world/
Ida Applebroog artist
Mercy Hospital, 1969/70, drawing on paper


The exhibit Ida Applebroog: Mercy Hospital continues at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Miami through October 30. Call Her Applebroog, a documentary on the artist by her daughter Beth B, will screen at O Cinema on October 29.



Ida Applebroog, Installation view of Past Events, 1982

Creative Time's Projects at the Chamber, Manhattan 1982, was inspired by the dramatic environment of the Chamber of Commerce’s Great Hall, which is decorated with portraits of the great financiers from American history, all of them white. In Applebroog's installation, the artist made the walls “speak,” telling an unpleasant story of patriarchy. She placed a small bronze sculpture of a woman in the midst of the portraits and inserted a speech bubble into her lips that warned: “Gentlemen, America is in Trouble,” to which the portraits replied: “Isn’t Capitalism Working?” or “It’s a Jewish Plot.” The show proved controversial: it was removed twice in one month and eventually moved to a gallery. The artist’s response: “What did they think a woman was going to do in that space?”


Further looking and reading:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/19/arts/design/shes-her-own-artist-and-a-daughters-muse.html?_r=0http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/19/arts/design/shes-her-own-artist-and-a-daughters-muse.html?_r=0

http://idaapplebroog.com/

http://bombmagazine.org/article/2235/ida-applebroog








October 17, 2016

Philip Guston, Who The Hell Wants Paint On A Surface?

Philip Guston painting
Philip Guston, Alchemist, 1960, oil on canvas, 61 x 67 inches

Philip Guston in an interview with Joseph Ablow 1966

"For reasons which I did not understand at the time... when I went into nonobjective painting or at least non-figurative painting, I felt I was even then involved with imagery, even though I didn't understand the imagery, but I thought it was imagery.

For some reason that is not quite clear to me yet, and maybe I don't want to be clear about it either, I was forced and pushed into the kind of painting that I did. That is to say that the demand, in the dialogue of myself with this, was that I make some marks.
It speaks to me, I speak to it. We have terrible arguments going all night for weeks and weeks.
"Do I really believe that?" I make a mark, a few strokes, and I argue with myself. Not "Do I like it or not?" but "Is it true or not?" And "Is that what I mean? Is that what I want?"

But there comes a point when something catches on the canvas, something grips on the canvas. I don't know what it is. I mean, when you put paint on a surface, most of the time it looks like paint.
Who the hell wants paint on a surface? 
You take it off, put it on, it goes over here, it moves over a foot. As you go closer, it starts moving in inches not feet, then half-inches. There comes a point, though, when the paint doesn't feel like paint. I don't know why. Some mysterious thing happens. I think you experience this, maybe in parts of canvases or something like that. If you can do it by painting a face or an eye or a nose or an apple, it doesn't matter. What counts is that the paint should really disappear. Otherwise it's craft or something like that."
Philip Guston painting
Philip Guston, Portrait I, 1965, oil on canvas, 68 x 78 inches







September 12, 2016

Music to listen to in the art studio


Yesterday in my studio I meditated to John Coltrane's Interstellar Space... 
It was only a few minutes, but wow. If you would've told me a year ago that I'd be into this album I'd have thought you were crazy, but all of a sudden it's working for me. I find myself tangled up in the color and light of the sound, breathing in all its breaths. I open my eyes to the brightness of my room knowing exactly what I want to do with the painting on the wall.

I don't usually meditate before I start painting, and I don't usually listen to free jazz while I'm working, but I'm glad for whatever gave me the impulse.

About the album, Robert Christgau wrote in his column for The Village Voice that he was amazed by the duets, which "sound like an annoyance until you concentrate on them, at which point the interactions take on pace and shape, with metaphorical overtones that have little to do with the musical ideas being explored."

I couldn't have said it better myself! Here, take a listen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le4iF-ZAJ3g&list=PLd56fNeWVkFn6OqF_4JR86Gz5Db9MYpmP


Music has that magic ability to set a mood and tone for the day, bringing up memory and emotion, good or bad.
You can wallow and get lost in it, or it can drown everything out. Usually I spend half my day in silence and half of it with music on. There are periods when I listen to the same thing almost every day. Years ago I did a whole series of paintings to Peter Gabriel's Us. Then there are periods when I'm not satisfied with anything I listen to.

Because I'm aware of how much I'm influenced by it, lately I've been trying to be much more conscious of the music I listen to.
Last month out of frustration I spent several days in complete silence. I ended up listening to Pink Floyd's Final Cut for an entire week after that. Bitches Brew by Miles Davis is another current favorite.

When it comes down to it there is certain criteria that needs to be met. If the music I'm hearing can jolt me emotionally in one direction or other without overwhelming me, I'm in. If it echoes the same mood as the painting I'm working on, that's good too. But it can't impede on the work. If I'm paying more attention to the lyrics of the song than the colors on my canvas, that's no good. There needs to be enough space in the music that I can subconsciously float myself into. Philip Glass is really good at that. If a whole album flies by and I realize I didn't hear any of it because I was lost in my work, that's perfection!

I just realized that everyone on this list is male, so here, to balance that out, depending on the mood: Concrete Blonde, Ani DiFranco, Nina Simone, Fiona Apple, Patti Smith, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Blondie, Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Zap Mama, Martha Wainwright... okay well, that more than balances it out!

Happy listening.