Catch up look ahead

I was scrolling back through last year’s posts and realize that the holidays and whatever-else bowled me right through the year-change and the last solo show without a reflection here on my blog. As I find myself elbow deep in a new set of pieces, it’s helpful to look back and see what happened in “The Ether and the Mantle,” which was shown at G.Gibson Gallery last Fall. I’m going to devote some time to looking at some of the work that has what I think of as the loose threads that I’d like to pick up and continue weaving.

Matter Mirror (2013) Gala Bent

This piece had its first incarnation as part of an installed set of drawings at Vignettes; the show was a visual response to the poetry of Heather Christle. I chose Aqualung:

what I like      likes me back     I like the sky     and

information     I walk around     everything bounces

off the world and sticks to me     and it is called a

system     the red light on my chest     is a symptom

of I am about to be shot     or else I am going to

be mentioned     in a short presentation on love

and deep misgivings     like how today I was

exploring     the pink coral reef     my body slipped

out     and stood beside me     we could not see each

other     and assembled our two visions into one

the world was different     because it looked

different     and it still likes us     but we don’t like it


I especially loved the body double aspect of this poem, and its wry humor (an element in a lot of Heather Christle’s poetry). For years, I have been thinking about reflections, echoes and mirrors. So much of the symmetry of the world is a bounce-back, an endless recording with variations. Having been at the chemical level lately as I learn about biochemical actions and reactions, it has become apparent that the act of mirroring and recording is ridiculously central to life, especially at that scale. But then the small adjustments and accidents and body doubles of the chemical world are the shifts that cause the astounding variety we see in the natural world. Practicing this process as I draw and paint– echoing but allowing variations to spin out, is a satisfying meditation. It makes sense to me in a very visceral way that my intuitive attraction to geometries that spin inside and out of looser forms is a formal portrait of the mathematical connections of atomic charge. (And, again, in my studio it is not an accurate or pragmatic illustration of these forces, but a lyrical response to them). There are webs of geometric electrical arrangements that hold our bodies and matter itself together. Mind blowing.


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