August 18, 2008

How will Clinton Supporters Vote in November?

“If you’re not for Barack, then get off my back.” I recently saw this emblazoned on a sweatshirt. A drawing I made of an ivory plaquette from the Bargello Museum of Sculpture in Florence brought this to mind again. But the drawing of a man with a spear vanquishing a female enemy that he is treading underfoot reminds me of something else in recent American events. It reminds me of the American media’s reaction to the Hillary Clinton presidential primary campaign. The appalling sexism that surfaced during the Democratic primaries was something that I had wished to comment upon as it was occurring but my lack of research hours made me think otherwise. Although the media was largely silent on the sexism issue, there were occasionally some bold journalists and academicians who came forward, such as Amanda Fortini and Kent Gibbons.Although this would seem like old news, especially for those eager to make the first woman who had a serious shot at the presidency disappear from the public consciousness, the ramifications of that time have yet to play out with November looming before us. For the many Clinton supporters who saw their candidate treated with a negative bias and have yet to commit their new allegiance this autumn, the misogyny that reared its ugly visage from both liberal and conservative camps puts them into something of a quandary. It is an uneasy choice; to vote with those who chip away at women’s rights, or to vote with those who pretend it isn’t happening.

August 2, 2008

“A critic at my house sees some paintings. Greatly perturbed, he asks for my drawings. My drawings! Never! They are my letters, my secrets.” - Paul Gaugin
I am perusing my sketch books, winnowing out drawings I don’t want, and excising others for matting, shrink-wrapping and framing. In doing so, they do lose their context as a visual travel log to places both pedestrian (subways) and elevated (the museums of Europe). Gone as well are the rough stages of mental processes behind the designs for sculpture and paintings - the letters and secrets that Paul Gaugin referred to. So it is with some trepidation that I effect changes in the historicity of my work Making new artwork from compilations of notes from the past brings the old drawings to a present context divorced from the work of the past that it influenced. In other words, an historian would be confused as to why a painting from a preparatory sketch predates the sketch. Yet when the sketch is altered to become essentially a “new” work it has to be dated as such. Perhaps I’ll use a date range.
In any case, there are some reasons why letting go of secret sketches in binders doesn’t bother me as much as perhaps it should. For one thing, it is highly debatable that there will be historians interested in analyzing my creative thought processes. Also, my sketch books are not terribly organized, but rather are amalgams of ideas, complete and incomplete drawings, and are not in any chronological order anyway. As for the destruction of some work that is not satisfying, I think of the painter Georges Rouault, who shoveled buckets of what he considered his weaker works on paper into a wood-burning stove. So winnowing out is not necessarily a bad thing.
Ever the pragmatist, I am using the frames I got from the Artist’s Round Table warehouse event to preserve the drawings that don’t end up in the equivalent of Rouault’s stove. Taking a break from the gallery and arts festival scene, I’m exhibiting these in my studio for a small group of friends and mentors. In going through these old drawings I see that I’ve come full circle in the year that I’ve started blogging - August 7 will be one year exactly. The revising of drawings was exactly what I was doing in August 2007. Drawing was a nice place to start and always a sound place to return to.