Sunday, March 30, 2008

A space of my own

A few days ago, I assisted Simon Draper in putting up a couple of structures that are part of his Habitat for Artists project. The two structures we put up in next to the parking lot of Spire Studios will serve as a studio space for me, in one, and a writing/work space for musician Dar Williams.
We transported the materials up from Simon's studio in Peekskill on Tuesday, when Dar's structure went up and mine was erected on Weds. I ran over today to throw a little paint on the outside surface, which will undoubtedly be covered and transformed.

I'm excited to get the joint finished and start working. This project will run through mid May, and I'll try to get myself in there as much as possible during that time.

I'm pleased because I can just walk over to the shed, and as you can see from the image below, I can just see the structures from the porch of our apartment.

Shortly, there will be a few other structures put up on this same location, and we'll have a regular lil community. Marnie Hillsely's structure will be adjacent to mine, and Sara Mussen will also be at the location. Lil' Alexis Elton will be partaking in the project remotely, working in a structure that she'll construct out in NM. I envision our little corner of Spireland looking a bit like a the little village in Babette's feast.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A face in the crowd

In Feb of 2007 while waiting for a train home I witnessed a frozen action in Grand Central. Soon afterward I posted a blog entry on the happening and even searched the internet for any mention of it; there was none. Then just last week I perused Bruce Molsky's facebook page where another friend of his posted a youtube video that caught my eye. Eerily familiar, I knew this had to be the action I watched. As it turns out, Improve Everywhere is the group that instigated the "freeze." I was visiting Bruce Molsky's facebook profile.....this took me to the Improv everywhere site, and I saw myself there. Scrolling down the page on the Improve Everywhere site, I found this photo that caught me standing beside the stairs watching the event.
It's weird to find how your experience of your experiences can be informed, and even played back to you through the ever more pervasive eyes of the internet.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quaykr in the Maykr

Early this year I began attending Quaker Meetings every week in Cornwall, NY. The meetings are a time for silent worship. Occasionally, when someone is so moved, they speak. This past meeting, one friend spoke of current developments in her life. She was asking about relevance and what is relevant in one's life and then she said that death asks us to ask difficult questions.
This phrase struck me as a rather poignant personification of death.
It got me thinking of the analog between making art and living one's life. Creation is the thing. Making art is a concentric inner life within life. Without killing spontaneity,ideally, one is constantly picking through elements of this or that piece, checking the relevance of each action to the whole of the composition. If at the end of this piece, I've not made an act of relevance - what then? I try doing it again. If on the other hand, I have made something embodying a level of relevance for myself - what then? I try doing it again.
Art is not only the act of creating but the act of dying. Constant pre-deaths, the repeated cycle of crucial struggles between effort validated and effort regretted. In the midst of it and through the completion of a painting there is present the possibility of outcome not expected and a possibility of the expected not living up to snuff. In either case, the questions need then be asked; Is it there? Is it any good? Can I live with this? The completion of a painting is a death. The end of a process. The end of one existence and the beginning of another. The process comes with satisfaction and some pain, but in facing these difficult questions, in time I find the answers are not so scary. If I die enough times on canvas or in the crusted paint roller covers I assemble together in an installation, the notion of this other big sleep can feel less like a deadline, and more an arbitrary, extended, hiatus. It's the random, and happenstance married with the intentional that creates and makes this artsy corpse of mine so exquisite. Good or bad, you just make another. In the face of it all, one can see that the search for relevance can be futile. Relevance is transitory, futility, endemic. Crafting relevance is presupposing an outcome, and unnaturally so. Relevance is the residue, not the catalyst. It either fits your taste or not.
Such are the lives we create for ourselves. Each day a new piece in an extended oeuvre. I feel fortunate that I'm pursuing a discipline that evokes such an intense process of reflection and query.
That type of honest assessment for which death prompts us to seek is mirrored by the artist's search for resolution to a particular visual problem.