Writing

   Six questions, one long answer.

1. My concerns have and are ones of images/words; a bifurcation, how and when they stand in for one another, exist with each other, with out boundaries and are the same thing, become the same thing; each letter a character/figure, each word an image; images given to me, to us, that is all of us before we were born, in other words we yearn for that which is our preconscious, but know. It is the yearning that is important, the thinking not the either/or. Again they are the same thing. To be quite honest from the age of four or five words grabbed me first, images, perhaps a year later. I always thought or preferred writing to painting. Drawing as writing obsessed me, though even as a teenager I thought—as well as my teachers—that I was destined to be a writer. I don't think in time, I think in space, a sensed space, if this double life, this genesis of a double sun began, it began in the space of being alone, that special cocoon of breath and discovery, a decontaminated space, one hermetic. Words cobbled together that made a one line story or a picture no matter the content would make my heart race had a keening effect on me as a child

2. Again, poetry and painting/drawing are similar, I have been referred to as a conceptual painter—perhaps, but I doubt it. The emotion rattle in my brain, each one of us have "Habitus" from (Pierre Bourdieu) which, though we are part of a field makes us a bit different.

A subtext of time, thus space, rhythm and chance convey that a certain image might, or might not have more potency, switch agency with a word becoming a balancing act or a ping-pong ball echoing across the table, the table just as important. Removing the obturator from the throat, that unclogging, to breathe sighs of whispers, to get at the pith, to pick at it’s fleshy tissue with another instrument, to pull apart the scars of an alleged truth to reveal truths which are lies is not easy, makes one vulnerable, and a cannibal of one’s own body. The lie’s agency, its distance is the cleavage to truth which is the constructed prosthetic, by which we understand hurt.  (I don't make art I tell lies because the truth hurts) Thinking is that instrument, the homology of writing/drawing; der bleistift und feder, the pencil and pen the same instruments write, the same instruments draw, the difference is the intent, the shape, what we recognize as drawing, what we discern as poems, again not much of a difference. We see with the brain, the eyes the tool, which picks at the core and orchestrates a sort of prosthesis.  Morty Feldman said that to be a good composer, one has to know how to orchestrate. I find no difference, between writing, drawing/painting and orchestrating/composing. It is all faber; arbeit; work, which is the pain of effort, of learning; of experience. Working on a picture my journal is open on a table two feet away, waiting always waiting. And if I am in the journal writing the picture is always waiting. (We are a thread hanging on the barbed wire of lies.) The composer Henry Cowell, who was the inventor of Tone-clusters arrived at his "Eureka" moment because of frustration. He had a sound and an effect in his head, which he could not duplicate in the usual manner at the piano, which is the composers sketchpad. In this maddening few seconds (or hours, days,) of being boulder blocked —again the obturator — he smashed his forearm on to the keys; the boulder was smashed into so many shards—the sound and effect needed was achieved. This clog or prosthetic device worked as an emotional and mental pressure building with no release, waiting— and then, Bang!  Cowell constructed the concepts of chance and the preparation of instruments which his students, Lou Harrison and John Cage made part of their vocabulary.  Poetry from a forearm smashed into an instrument, one never knows.

3. Thanks for explaining your term, "Bleached out". I think hard and long about each piece, before I start a picture searching for the path needed. Lately there is a pitch dark nothing; a keening that has held me captive. It is the dark space between the door and its jamb. So that is the pith. The process; sifting through thirty or forty images (my work is more concerned with the fragments of a gothic restraint; images imagined as a mute horror of an unknown quality; of becoming an emotional icon) to a few images, and surprisingly, pick one, that I was not intent on producing. Then I hit it, hit it hard, I murder-out the visual noise in the ground, bringing focus to the image hoping its ambiguity is enough of a generic fragment for a possible story, (It needs a better story). When Dante wrote his "Inferno" only fragments of Homer's Odyssey existed and it fueled his imagination into what rings of Hell to place some of Homer's protagonists. It was perhaps a hundred years later that all of Homer was discovered. Dwelling on the image, that is the image as fragment, compels the audience to use their imagination/memory to fill in the cracks, in the same manner as a the restoration of an eighth century B. C. Greek Crater or Kouros that has been filled with plaster. I am not trying to be clever, I am interested in a certain emotion, a vibration, an echo of pre-social thought; again, all images, gestures, expressions and attitudes are a given, they are exhausted as “historical material”, impotent and need to be decontaminated, resuscitated, given a vitality, a new agency in another but parallel universe, or multi-verse; The story is complete before it is discovered, the picture tells me what is needed. I adapt to the given, at the end it is a compromise and the story is a synthesis of the senses and body, there is never a mind body duality, the double sun becomes a double sun. The cleavage between the two suns is the interest. "One does not discover new lands unless one suspends sight of all shores for an eternity"—Vilas-Mattas.

4. Space, compression, fragmented language, sound, color and effect—all orchestrated loosely sort of the way Ferneyhough composes, (The New Complexity) always with (in) direction, with thought.

It is funny with writing, at first uncomfortable with what is there, thinking it as a junk-pile scrub, opening the journal a day or two later and those lumps of coal seem to sparkle, it takes me awhile to see beauty in what was plumber's lead, days before. Within three or four pages a few sentences or paragraphs leap out. To compress what was embarrassing into what I was feeling, to murder-out the noise for the raw. It is not easy, a tortuous path. A peripatetic bouncing, a wending, but so it is with the picture-making as well. All the stories have been warehoused in my brain as chaos, a jumble, waiting, with impatience, a nervousness to get on with it, to overcome a hyper-inertia to let it out, not as "diary-puke" but as an existence that reverberates with the essence of experience, past present and future but now.

5. Again, there is no mind-body duality. They exist as one. After "Vertigo Moon" in 2010, I decided not to include text in my work to see what would happen, again the text had become an obturator and needed clearance from the gullet for clarity, to see if the echo of images felt my stink without the signifier of text.  That freed me, to realize I wasn't trapped, no one wants to set a trap and become lunch. In the middle of the year I did "homage to Roberto Bolanò" written in my own hand "There is no turning back..." and at the bottom a writing/drawing poem from his "Savage Detective". Roberto, in my opinion is the best writer of the last twenty years. That writing/drawing poem itself becomes homage to the great poet Nicanor Parra. After that, “Short Story” used the complete short work of Augusto Monteroso, a tremendous writer "When I awoke the dinosaur was still there". It is supposedly the shortest short story in literature. The image a Concord jet in blur-motion on a blue field with the story written in the top of the field. However everything is connected, my painting, writing and reading. Language and images, built to tell a compelling story, to keep things interesting, fragmented spatial. Vertigo Moon uses my own writing, which is obscured by the image and process. I will send you the poem separated from the image so you may read it. The poem was written to go with the image. There is no difference in my writing as writing and my writing as drawing, though meshed with images. They exist as a whole. For example, "They'll come for you, they'll come for you" stands alone, however works with images. I used it in three different images. It is not the length or number of words or sentences, it is not if they were intended to stand alone or incorporated into a picture, it is the potency that counts, the story, the tragic, the fear, the anxiety, the whole ball-of-wax as language, words and images, words without images that matters. I love it all.

6. My journal is opened a couple of feet away from the picture I am working on. I usually take a break in the evening and go to my favorite coffee shop on the Bowery at Bleecker and jot down ideas, for paintings ( Grace Gaupe Pillard refers to pastel as dry painting) and scrubs and scraps of ideas that might be fodder for poems, sometimes I can write it on the spot, usually not. Respite is necessary between all endeavors: I run 6 to 7.5 miles a day, four days a week. Again different rhythms, different activities but all of one piece, of one mind, the cleavage as space but attached to the soul. Process is important only as a tool of the story, and in others hand can be that story. But here it must be subservient to it. I have great respect for mechanics and craftspeople but I am interested in the concept, the idea, not mediums of process. In fact I confess to be awful at process. These things called pencils and pens and pastels happen to work for me at the moment, they feel good and suit my intent. Pastel is fast, ideas flow; pen and pencil are fast, words flow. Ideas flow.

  Eventually we have to cross the Styx, when that time comes hopefully we can let go, allow the change and row over to the other side. Life and death are of the whole piece, there is not them and us, either, or; social patterns, patterns of process, patterns of thinking are not that different from one people to another, from one continent to another or from one way of making things to another. It is what you have in your thinking, your encyclopedia of mark making, yes technology and tools might look like they change process but only for the job at hand and the hand at job. It is the attention given to the intent, which is pertinent, the process takes care of itself.