June 2, 2024

Let's Call This a Bloom


An image appeared in my mind one day. A square, circled. A painting blooming from its support, a ring sprung a square, a frontal view displaced 90 degrees, the painterly seeped past the frontier of the canvas and into the wood and wire of the support. Petals spread wide, straining pistil and stamen forward, the gonads of painting glimmering for the horizon.

Later, associations. The first was a turbine. It was about the spin, it was about design, of blades about to spin but not yet so. Not yet. The piece was made, or well on its way. Wires implied motion strongly and yet they are fixed.



Duchamp's Bicycle. He said that he made it just because he liked to see it spin. I'm in the middle of reading Thierry de Duve's "Clement Greenberg: Between the Lines". In it, a distinction is made, Greenberg's and I think de Duve's as well, between an art object appreciated aesthetically and one calculated in its' creation to impress. There must have been a moment preceding the manifestation of "Bicycle" when Duchamp found himself noticing how nice the spinning bicycle tires were, one moment here, one moment there. How better to hold that sensation aloft and away from the unpredictable circumstantial encounter than to fix it on a stool? Art material was all around him, freed from the specialty retail stores, ubiquitous. People said Duchamp was aloof, Duchamp had feelings, no matter how antiseptically there were categorized as aesthetic. Greenberg felt compelled to confine those feelings to the classical bins but I'm not yet entirely sure that de Duve does, even though he had charted very clearly the dangerous shoals of Art-In-General in "Between the Lines" and later more fully in "Duchamp's Telegram". All of this, I'm currently digesting.

About a week or two after I completed this piece, I sent an image of it to a friend, and his reply was a reference to the eclipse of 2024, the one everybody was abuzz about in the USA. Indeed, at the time of its making, the association didn't really occur to me. It seems a stretch, especially since I had made associations to celestial mechanics to art history in past blogposts. But yeah, the thought hadn't occurred to me probably because I didn't get swept up in the media hype at the time. And yes indeed, this is a great association. I love it, I've always had a fascination with astronomy since I bought an 8" Celestron in the 90's and learned that the sights we see of the universe in the media is quite different from what we can see with conventional optics here on earth. The eclipse, any eclipse is bound to be less than impressive unless one is directly within the path of totality, and that moment is all too fleeting as it is. But the association is wonderful, even if the reality of the universe is currently scrubbed of unimaginably vast distances between all celestial objects. Our abstractions of the world are quite vivid and spell binding.


Posted by Dennis at June 2, 2024 1:55 PM

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