I am slowly letting go and being more… well less constrained I suppose. In this one I basically made most of it up as I went along. Well all of it. Really. Hm.
There’s a bunch of stuff embedded in the paint – a small screwdriver, a disassembled bottle opener, 15 cents, a couple of pencils split in half, some nails and staples. I painted the shelves; the outside, first, then the figure, then the water, then the butterflies. I was hesitant about using butterflies as I did not and do not wish for this piece to be mistaken for FEMINIST art, as it COULD be read that way, if’n you really wanted to.
There are all these jars and boxes… When I started I just looked around at the room I was in and at my desk. It is, eternally, a mess, of course. Well I mean I AM an artist, I don’t want to disappoint the stereotype since I conform to it involuntarily in so many, many other ways.
Hm I had better go and get it and look at it while I am writing this.
OK well that isn’t really helping much, here’s a detail:
From left to right, it starts with 15 cents, then there’s a little bell, and a rough drawing of a girl’s, a child’s, dress. Then the poetry starts. I’ll get into that in a minute.
Right yeah, hm, a couple of candles, a jar and some scissors.
Then there is the staff of Aesculapius – symbol of medicine and healing and stuff.
To the left of this u can just make out the bits of screwdriver :) A spider, drawn/painted nails to go with the real ones, disembodied hands and fore-arms raised in defense; a cup that I was drinking out of and copied directly into the piece (It has always been a hazard to have turpentine and coffee on the same table whilst painting, and one that i have fallen prey to many times, spitting turp’s all over my paintings on occasion.)
Playing cards – a joker and an ace, and there was a queen of hearts there but I painted over it with the border-type-thing. I was going to use real cards but kind of finished the piece before I made it to a news agent to get any. Lastly at the bottom you can see bits of the bottle opener that I stuck in there and half a pencil. Also news agents freak me out because they always have people buying lottery tickets and the saying that I have for that particular contemporary fascination is:
LOTTO IS A TAX ON PEOPLE WHO CAN’T DO MATH’S.
AND on the RIGHT SIDE..
There’s a jar with TEETH written across it, but I thought that may be a little gross so I made it more difficult to read and subtle-ish. Then a jar of memory.
Boxes, some stuff that may or may not be books – they are books I just didn’t do that very clearly.
Then a big tin of paint, and over that there is the other side of the bottle opener that I pulled apart and stuck on.
Also there are two of the three not-really-feminist-issue butterflies in boxes.
The reason I think that it could easily be taken that way is because there is a pretty girl lying on a bed alongside them, and hey they ARE in boxes and presumably DEAD, so it would be easy to see that I am pointing out the similarity in the objectification of women and the collecting of dead butterflies killed with formaldehyde and put on display. Only I’m not.
Now that I think about it, I should have added two ravens… Hugin and Munin were Odin’s ravens, “thought” and “memory.” Oh well put it on the shelf for later with all that stuff that I painted this time.
Going through each symbol would take me a looong time and I sincerely doubt that anyone would read it ALL, though you never know I suppose. They kind of add up to a dream world of memory and experience, tainted and held by time in its nasty little claws. As we all are. Don’t forget.
It is my deepest ambition to spend each slippery moment as aware as I can be, as ANYONE ever WAS that it is my own responsibility to live as well as hope can imagine, to exploit and immerse myself in life, in time itself. I hold this ambition above any other, it is a continually replicating theme in my work. These seconds and hours and days and weeks are by their very nature, by each shred of perception that we have, FINITE, they WILL end, we WILL die.
This irrefutability in itself defines the necessity of this need: THE FACT THAT TIME PASSES, THAT WE WILL DIE, MAKES THE MOMENTS THAT WE HAVE INFINITELY MORE PRECIOUS.
There is an end to it all, no matter what beliefs we hold on to with our last thoughts and slur with our guttering breath. We cannot begin to imagine eternity, we just can’t, nothing in our experience can show us a glimpse of what that could mean – how can we believe in something that we don’t even have the beginnings of the capacity to imagine? That we have a place in it?
“And time sickens me. Moments make me wretch with what they are, with their absolute sacrosanct inevitability. Make holes in the burning heart of God. As I continue to live and rip through time like particles being torn to pieces on the edges of a black hole. Shining with their last light, exploding outwards as they die. I feel like this.
Tearing ourselves to pieces as we shine bright enough to scald our own eyes, extant awareness of the trap of atrophy that will swing us back to pain always, always. It is not true that what goes up must come down. It is true that a sine curve is forced upon us by the nature of life, of the universe. For every spike of brilliant brightness there WILL be an equal part, a disease of equality.
Wish Wish wish. Pray into the infinite dark, hold onto the sides of your mind and DON’T FUCKING SLIP. Some fissure in the void. Some smoke from the burning slide. "
Hm um you see, well, I have really tried to look into this, spending the moments examining moments.
This kind of sums it all up…
“In spacetime, everything which for us constitutes the past, the present and the future is given en bloc… Each observer, as his time passes, discovers, so to speak, new slices of spacetime which appear to him as successive aspects of the material world, though in reality, the ensemble of events constituting spacetime exist prior to his knowledge of them”
Louis de Broglie, physicist
Which pretty much means that our perception of time is actually all an illusion, yeah I KNOW I wasn’t surprised either. Though since it is very difficult to actually prove that we exist at all anyway, or more specifically that anyone else exists or anything else apart from our thoughts (cogito ergo sum, I think therefore I am or as I prefer, I forget therefore I was, a little cup of Descartes anyone? with lemon?)
I am considering becoming more of a cynic, I don’t think that I doubt enough.
A final Quote:
in the Sanskrit epic the GITA, a mortal ARJUNA confronts God (KRISHNA) not as a creator but as a destroyer. Shaken, he asks of this dark god the question:
“Tell me who you are”
And receives the answer:
“I am come as time, the waster of the peoples.
Ready for the hour that ripens to their ruin.”
AND HERE’S THE MIDDLE BIT:
SHE IS DREAMING OF COURSE.
But everyone probably got that part huh?
The poetry in the piece is plucked from a variety of poems that I have written, and the lines are meant to be taken in the context of the images that surround them, not as a whole… this is the poem that most of it comes from:
Sarcasm is its own reward.
With a feel for illusions and allusions there’s only one bone picker on the farm.
Give me a chance and I’ll tell you how to lose,
how to become whatever it happens you mostly revile when you’re alone
and trying quietude for an experiment.
Bones on the outside, like insects, sure.
There is no way out of this, this is stuck-dom, stuck-ville,
for Christ’s sake give me a plate full of ashes
and a smothered wreathe and why don’t you ask me one more time, I’ll find the right way to say it.
Ask me again. I’ll say the same thing in a different way and on the couch this time in the night,
singing softly and whispering into my hair.
I’ll show you my teeth and you can twist hairs on my arm so that you know that I know that you’re there.
Wishing for time to see, lips curled like paper on a fire,
man that’s not the world shaking – that’s just you. I love it when ads for colour fade.
Lifting up in quiet suspension and Christ did you see that guy’s fucking NECK?
Offer me a corner in the parlour with soft wrapping on the outside,
lights and stretched skin, translucent like
grass on a spring afternoon only skin, not grass. Offer me this and a few more and ask me again.
This time I’ll tell you a story with highlights in pink
and we’ll both fall backwards laughing into summer with our arms full of flowers clutched a little too tightly. Soft cheek carved into light smell of cigarettes and warm wine,
- tolerance and conviction clean into pure water, sure, in the morning?
Their love story, it’s famous, a princess at Christmas-time,
iron that’s pitted and scarred and cool and heavy in your hand.
Walking on the beach muttering vigorous, Clothos and Lachesis separated by cloth-backed, dark books.
Trying again and so hard this time laced and buckled and arcane,
accentuated and caressed. Willed into existence with a strangled grasp.
Can’t fake anymore got my vices clamped up inside into bluff and hardness.
Can’t give can’t touch what’s inside me
not with these hands pushing against the sides.
In a grotesquery of pinched bones and drawing
tightness beating against my ribs like I’ve swallowed
a murder of crows an assassin of ravens or a murderer an assassin a juggler.
These streets that are really just snakes and fires like that are lies.
These worlds that hurt and are pins in flesh, like before.
This compassion. This fever.
This moment and fall. It’s happy only-after, gripped and cramped sucked kissed and choking.
In the moonlight with a pulse and a flower clinging to her skin.
Sleep with me.
Push my head to your chest so I can hear your heart
Cry in your sleep.
Breathe into my open mouth
These are the words that will not make love stay.
(Atropos and Lachesies are two of the three fates in Greek mythology – their sister, clothos, is where we get the word cloth from. Lachesis was the spinner, Clothos the weaver, and Atropos cut the threads. The cloth was the world and the threads, mortals, titans and gods. Even the gods were subject to the warp and weft of their loom. Man God or Titan Atropos’ scissors stopped ended the colour and twist of any thread.)
1 m x 82 cm
Pastels on colourfix pastel paper