Sunday, August 24, 2008

Structural framework

I sometimes post drawings that are not finished... maybe hoping that next time I look back through these, I will see something I've missed. Part of my practice involves studying my own blog for threads of ideas and connections that surface here and there... like the goat drawings, or Cthulhu drawings. This skeletal piece is so delicate, I wonder if I can add some darkness without overwhelming it's subtle forms.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Still Life With Mirror

Something about this recycled paper, it's color and flecks of I-don't-know-what leads me to make old drawings. Here I pretend I'm one of the old masters, carefully engraving a portrait or biblical story. Again, I am working over an older drawing in this sketchbook the past few days. I like the effect of a mirror image - more obvious turned upside down - but it seems to carry more weight with this end up. Ah, the tough decisions that an artist must make.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Recycling on a couple of levels

Here's another one in the same vein as yesterday's post.
This drawing zapped me right back to Ireland and a walk up the hill behind Burren College last year. I came upon the carcass of a goat, it appeared to have crawled into some undergrowth to die a few days before.
Previous posts: Ashes to ashes, Goat drawings continued

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Memory is an additive process, like drawing

Hal is watching an old film noir and I'm channeling hard shadows and dissonance from it. The soundtrack especially is creeping in (Schoenberg- influenced score).
Lately I've been going back into earlier drawings. This one, about a year old, was all soft graphite and paraffin, serene and meditative. I soon put a stop to that.
Layering drawings, a new one over an old one, is like layering experience and memory. The building up becomes a new experience; the recording alters the memory with some bits obscured, destroyed, some exaggerated, some just preserved.
A continuous, ever-changing, truthful and not-so-truthful history of the universe.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Molecular level living

A bit more work done on this Survival instinct since I posted it in July.
It's Friday morning and I'm off to Samaritan House (our version of domestic abuse/homeless shelter) to work on the phone lines for a few hours. I'm curious about how several of these drawings originate there, in a windowless office filled with desperate stories, fluorescent light, silly jokes and true good works. The down time between phone calls is fertile ground for drawing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Small animals

I've been making these drawings for a couple of days now...
They remind me of a Florida trip a few years back. I went out on the air boat in the dark with my brother Bruce so he could catch frogs. Gig frogs I mean. Frog giggin.' A process by which one sneaks up on a frog in the boat – o unsuspecting, innocent creature – shines a bright light in its eyes (they're quite stupid and actually hold still for this) and then Snap! stabs it real fast with a long pointy stick.
What I've been thinking about – after the shock I guess – is the huge shadows cast by the big bright spotlight. The frog goes sort of taut and stretches out all its legs, wrestling to get away. Bruce pulls them off the stick and puts them in a burlap bag in the bottom of the boat. They bounce and wriggle and hop inside the bag for what seems like ages.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

New York

What I love about MoMA is discovering an artist I've maybe seen before but finally 'see.'
This time it is Mira Schendel. I'm practically speechless about her work, and, as you can see here, miles away from being able to embrace her simplicity. But I saw and I remember.
New York was good fun. The opening at the Bowery Gallery was packed and noisy and I'm still trying to figure out why I'm in that show. Most of the rest of the work was quite representational. Later we all went to a big party under the 59th Street Bridge for great food and wine and dancing, courtesy of my friend Lori's employer.
Friday we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, stopping over one of Olafur Eliasson's waterfalls to look down between the boards of the walkway. I generally love his work – the Weather Project in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern comes to mind – but I don't get these. At the end of the day we were at Coney Island for fireworks on the beach.