October 6, 2018

Not an X-Ray

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Above and below, art work in travel frames.

Stray thoughts (September 10, 2018):

Regarding my recent work, three names come to mind...

Robert Ryman
Sol LeWitt
Frank Stella

A Fulfillment of an incomplete project:
Robert Ryman: the totality of a painting is a candidate for plastic expression from the nail attachment in the wall to the licks of paint on the surface of the support.

The Grand Impasse, or the Problem of Successful Culmination:
Sol LeWitt: the terminal phase of art as a set of instructions... the singularity of conceptual means... back away from the event horizon

A Refusal:
Frank Stella.
There are 2 Stellas...
- early rule based execution based on the traditional pattern of drawing first, color infill second
- The shapely Stella, based on his "Working Space" manifesto
The problem with his Working Space agenda is that it first valorizes traditional depiction by making literal (physical) pictorial space. He fulfills painting with sculpture.

Another Reversal:
Georges Bataille: Acephale (the cut in collage leading to dismemberment and beheading), base materialism and indulgence as an antidote to war.

Yet Another Reversal:
1968. "Beneath the beach, the paving stones." Seven years later, my ship was picking up refugees in the South China Sea)

Flipping an Agenda:
Supports / Surfaces
Instead of the "painting undone" (title of the ArtCritical article), consider painting redone... instead of painting deconstructed, consider painting reconstructed.

A Defiant Refusal:
Clement Greenberg: I refute his mandate of flatness. Did he unwittingly set the table for Sol LeWitt's infinitely flat set of art-as-instructions?

The disembodiment if art, of painting. Descartes, and the stubborn mind/body split. Schizoid. Echoes of Duchamp's "...retinal art", merely an eye. Instead, visual processing starts in the retina, the brain is co-extensive in the body, a nervous system in its' entirety, inseparable. Entanglement, a condition to be appreciated.

That Seminal Moment:
On Goya's "Saturn Eating his Children".
What of my first revelation at age thirteen, standing before this painting in the Prado?Call this a dilation, moments when art expanded massively in my attention and the rest of the world fell away... my most impactful dilation since there were several precursors.

I remember the marvel of Goya's visionary spell. Soothsayer. I remember puzzling over why the disturbing subject matter captured my attention. I worried oh so faintly that it could apply to my family (it did indeed). Later, I realized that this mythic theme could also anticipate the closing moments of twentieth century art history.

I remember most of all, the facture. Painting is entanglement and contingency. I think now of the sculpture Laoco├Ân and the entangling serpent/sea monster (the prevention of fore knowledge? WTFBBQ? Doesn't this run interference with the visionary aspect?). Like the Ecstasy of St. Theresa, where pain and ecstasy co-mingle.

(Saturn's headless child at the moment depicted by Goya: the image of Mason & Bataille's Acephale?)

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Posted by Dennis at October 6, 2018 12:30 AM

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