Time, in the middle of the Great Collapse, to post new works and another small poem entitled When the Heart Bleeds; also, some thoughts on Budapest artists, contemplations on fascism and more Brecht.
The new works, Swingeing Spots, can be seen here. What are these circles and why do I keep doing them? They began in 2019 with the Black Spots of Winter and I have been doing these ever since. Am I taking the easy way out by continuing to follow this thread? I do see the obvious referencing of natural structure, reflecting an ailing nature. Now we are at one with nature. But is that enough?
The form and content begin with a simple attraction of the eye. It’s the eye that guides now, not arbitrary yet not consciously meaningful. Is it just automatic form-making? I don’t really need to know this. The point is that I have neither used up these forms nor this particular media, although under different circumstances other forms, other media could do the job equally well. Not arbitrariness but fluency?
But why this apparent invisibility of the hand? There is no brushwork, little gestural mark-making. The application of color and tone, the creation of texture are all created by basic printing processes – offset, relief, stencil, transfer. Is this legitimate? Why not? The essence of a print being pressure rather than duplication (although that sometimes occurs), in this case simple pressure of the hand itself is where manual expression comes into play, the physical assertion of a human hand at work. I am satisfied.
It’s been nearly two years since visiting the Budapest studio of László Alföldi (here) and Éva T. Horvath (here). Éva’s powerful relief collages and 3D constructions and László’s nuanced paper prints both left a strong impression. I was particularly drawn to László’s technique of layering multiple sheets of freshly inked papers under pressure, then peeling the layers apart to create compelling visual textural effects. I don’t know if I have unconsciously revisited his process in my newest work or if I, following my own independent thread, have found myself in an overlapping spot of commonality. I don’t really need to know this either. It’s enough, I think, to point with acknowledgement and appreciation in his direction.
Suddenly and inevitably the mind swings without warning from Budapest back to Vermont – and to what has become My American House Arrest. Being forced to cancel the fall flight (the fourth cancellation) with no idea of plan or future stuns. I have yet to inform my Hungarian friends and colleagues but that will happen next. Alternative ideas for my fall Book of Chaos exhibition at the Nyitott Műhely (Open Workshop) emerge slowly and must be explored.
Meanwhile, It’s always there – an imperative to write about this mammoth realignment of reality. Navigating this new and strange present continuous, absorbing this many-pronged assault consumes an undefinable portion of the psyche. Last night, exhausted by the day’s events, a sense of being unmoored took over. The mind churns in the substrate, trying ceaselessly to comprehend, define and respond appropriately in both personal and political contexts.