May 28, 2005

Back to the Garden

I have shelved an extended text that was originally meant for this post. It was getting too expository, flat footed, overly literal, garishly or even obsequiously explanatory.

No more of that.

This painting is intended as a prelude for the next larger panel. It began with the expectation to bring Thor's Hammer down (sweeping radical interventions, similar to the big scoops taken out of the previous painting) upon a meticulously ordered and entangled painterly marks or forms... but as I progressed, time dilated and paint dried as fast as my affection grew for what I was painting.

Often, I think of think of the need to formulate a strategy for entering into a painting, and how this conceptual anticipation must be sacrificed in favor of what you encounter along the way. And one of the things encountered/invented along the way was that curious blue form at the bottom. I hazarded another way to lay paint down flatly and the attempt fell flatly (failed).

Slowly, I began to remove it and as I progressed with the erasure, I began to like it and see some promise in it. I also saw an echo of work done back around 1994 or so (I don't have my archive fotos here in Spain, those images will become available when I return to California this Fall). I am always on the lookout for aspects that breathes life into this "wet into wet" project, especially capacities which extend both into the flat (paint applied thinly) and the thick directions. For example, the method of throwing large spatulas of paint onto the canvas and carefully removing them can be seen here, now has a companion in this blue cloudlike blob.

The orignial text was an affectionate Fisking of the Joni Mitchell song "Woodstock", appreciating the drive to return to the garden. But I wanted as well to remember that the way back is not... back... but away and onward along the storyline Judeo-Christian arc that brings us to the other side of the Fall and Expulsion... redemption.

(Arrrgh and Gnash... I feel like I'm trying to rope conceptual bulls with dental floss.)

We can't go back to the garden from the way we came, we can't crawl back into the womb. (I am already erasing huge chunks of text here as I write.) I used to tell my students (architecture studio, Woodbury University, early 90's) that our studio was a garden of Eden and I was the serpent who suggests they eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge (winks and smiles to hedge against the obvious, storytelling artifice in full effect). After they consume the fruit (the curriculum), not everything they do will be embraced as it was when they were babies... when their every act was lauded for what virtues that might be incipient within it and them. They now know the difference between good and evil, between naivete and sophistication. Now, they know what nakedness means. The way back to the garden was with and through the burden of this knowledge. This is a narrative arc that corkscrews like gyres, a cycle that once completed, promises an new horizon.

Posted by Dennis at May 28, 2005 12:10 PM

1 Comment

Was just scrolling thru and want to say how rich your posts are. Reminding me how much I love the back and forth of the process, Joni and pieces of work whispering behind me while I work.
Look forward to seeing the new one.

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