The Fabric of the Body.
The fabric of the body is this wise: that it should be bitten, bought and bulked up. The fabric of the body is thus: Its edges and inter-weavings are part and parcel–internalized as one substance and interred as another (open for interpretation.) The fabric of the body is the fabric of the non-body, only insomuch as it demands a rematch. But the fabric of the non-body allows a less tenuous balance. Its heart might stop yet its heart still beats. All of our hearts are hot in the belly of the planet; all of our planets give up elements for correct placement: metals for meals, motions for memory. The fabric of the body is the metallic motion of memorable meals.
For my recent solo show at G.Gibson Gallery in Seattle, I had titles on the wall and extended titles for each piece on an accompanying sheet. For a few posts, I am documenting those here:
Shelter: Cast off the long lost line. The birds are eating, the squirrels digging. Our homes have become bitten and worn but there is wood for the fire and some volunteer lavender.
Sky Measurements: In great patience and hope, the sky is observed.
Take on Me (A Taxonomy): It becomes clear that each of us, no matter how open we are, seem to be responsible for a handful of ideas that repeat in various forms throughout our lives.
Tryptophilia: Once I discover there is a word for the fear of many holes packed tightly together— tryptophobia— I realize that I have the opposite—tryptophilia, maybe. Pores and honeycombs are focused patterns of interaction between an interior and exterior world. A sign of life, permeability, vulnerability, and hope.
Red Shift, White Album: Wooden planks, light through a barn window, eye to the sky, women astronomers, new language, old songs, bouncing pencil, spacecraft.
Remember when we used to live together? Give me an inch and I will wax poetic. This inch contained the remains of two sea creatures, and their symbiotic calcium-white leftovers became a drawing meditation.
Rock with Interior Secrets: We mete out the details, cautious step-by-step, those of us who pray, who find ourselves praying.
Rock with a Mouth of Jewels: I sang a song to pass the time and, instead, it breathed new life into the day.
Ruffle and flutter: Furl and spatter, spread and wave, drift and scatter, slake and stave.
From the Sea: Tubes and balloons and stripes and polka dots, ruffles and sequins and costume jewelry – they all come first from the sea.
Gardening Matrix: In an inconceivably graceful burst, seeds become robust stems and leaves and, soon, flowers, marked by sculptural genius, the embodiment of energy itself.
Lichen: These loose bits that litter the floor of the forest are spendthrift castoffs with more grace than most big human pursuits.
Alluvial Fan: When parallel paths split, and split again, and again, because of obstacles, because of silt or other diversion, the branching pattern appears. An elegant answer.
Magnetic Trio: I have pulled you to me in every way I know. The rest is left to time and physics.
Family Group: Our first impulse is elbows up, defending the sharp edges that have been jabbing one another by way of additional sharp edges. At last, we round from friction like so many river stones.
Fluent in at least three languages: I do not speak Icelandic or Czech. Even though I visited both countries for a spell, thinking I would catch on when immersed, I found both languages to be firmly outside my grasp. Instead, all of the French and Spanish I know came fluttering up like loose bits of ashy paper from a smoldering fire.
Folds and Chains: Tender version of chemistry, come. I have made you a bed of sulfur, I have nursed you with calcium and carbon. Surely, you will be eased. Surely your platitudes will unfurl like linen banners.
Last May (2017) I found myself in Thingeyri, Iceland, as part of an international group residency. My experiences there helped craft a new body of work that is currently hanging at G.Gibson Gallery in Seattle (until January 20, 2018) “Particle Playlist”. Above is an earlier installation of the work, while still at the residency, as a study table looking out toward the fjord. The book that is being propped open with a stone is, appropriately, “Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman,” by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, which I like to think of as my updated “Poetics of Space,” the influential book by Gaston Bachelard. What I experience when reading both of these books is a sense that disciplinary gates have been pushed open to scholars who may be passing by. The texts are idiosyncratic, but accessible, oneiric and well-mapped, infused with wonder and curiosity. Bachelard was a philosopher whose focus was science and poetics, while Cohen is a medievalist with a PhD in literature, who collaborates with contemporary artists and planetary scientists, among others. These minds that traverse the gap between imagination and data, between observation and intuition, between the ancient and modern, appeal to my own sense of being “in between.” Want to hear more? If you are in the Seattle area, join me at G.Gibson Gallery, along with the illustrious Justin Gibbens, who ALSO treads ground in the land between poetics and science, for an artist talk on Saturday, January 13th, at 1pm.
I have been looking for a quote, the spirit of which lingers in my mind– something to the effect of: “There are many times I have preferred the sound of birds over the sound of the human voice.” In any case, as I prepare for my show “Biographic” at G.Gibson Gallery in May, I have been thinking about what I like to listen to. Boy do I like people. But, as a city dweller in the pocket internet age, I get a lot of human voice without even trying. It jams the circuits, and it only goes so far. It circles the same spots in my brain. It makes ruts. The question I have been asking while making this new work is: “What does life write when it writes about itself? How does life draw when it draws itself?” As a human who has inherited visual language developed over thousands of years, I illustrate from a particular dialect. Drawings that have looked at other drawings, lines that have eaten up gestural painting and comic books, scientific identification and cursive and calligraphy. But there is another set of graphics that are innate, and they come from living inside a body built of patterns that I share with a broader family than the human one. While working on the drawing above, I wanted to know if calcium had a tendency to grow in florets. I didn’t find anything that pointed to that specific query, but I ended up on botanical sites (thank you pocket internet) that described various flower growth patterns. On this one, I found out that there is a classification of growth patterns called ligulate, the root word of which is ligula, or small tongue. I love this. From Encyclopedia Brittanica:
Ligulate flowers superficially resemble the ray flowers of radiate heads in having a corolla that is tubular at the base and prolonged on the outer side into a flat, strap-shaped ligule. They differ from ray flowers in that they are perfect (bisexual) and the ligule consists of all five lobes of the corolla and generally shows five terminal teeth. The dandelion is a familiar plant with ligulate heads.
The growth pattern happens to look like what I was drawing, at least in one iteration. I have also been drawing inspiration from diatoms and other shapes found in pond water, from incidental marks made by plants and animals… anything that speaks as if with small tongues.