Obstacles

Alexandra Eldridge, Spiritual Realities 24 x 18" |

Alexandra Eldridge, Spiritual Realities 24 x 18″ | 2012 courtesy of artist

Which came first -the elephant or the egg?

I like obstacles. They tell on me. Study your obstacles – what tale do they tell about your thinking? Elephantine obstacles require a great force of self to move, but many are completely mind made up.

In this totem, the elephant balances on a lavender egg. The elephant, remover of obstacles – is at once young and old – timeless leathered skin defined by burls in the underlying wood.

In motion. Maybe she was laid off – again. Maybe he holds divorce papers – again. Maybe she heads a faltering company or he’s losing a major client. These two-ton obstacles to happiness force us into motion. This elephant puts one uneasy foot in front of the other and though vulnerable, balances between hope and despair. She will make this egg take her where she wants to go. Perhaps finding (while plodding) a new direction. We don’t know how, but she will.

The bird, however, is stuck. Staring down a small black egg entirely avian made. Some dark ritualized judgement grounds her from flying free. A perceived tragic flaw, “I’m unlovable,” or “I’ll never reach my goals.” “I’ll always be _________. “I’m the worst  ________.”  Her wings pinned back.  Cawing complaint.

But I see potential in this obstacle egg. Potential to find the thinking flaw.  Black egg thoughts have a shady “all-or-nothing” ultimatum-ish type character  – a dead give away. Hold on! I’m not the *worst* parent in the world. I messed up this time, but next time I’ll handle it differently. (deep breath)

Now we flex our wings. Now a dark egg cracks. Opens up to new and brightly life.


Free as a bird

Ash Almonte, As Free as a bird, 2011, courtesy of Russell Collection, Austin, TX

Ash Almonte, As Free as a bird, 2011, courtesy of Russell Collection, Austin, TX

Free as a bird.

Yet a wing is subject to wind.

I like the color palette of this painting. I like vibrant but restrained – to watch what happens when choice is self-restricted. Maybe all workable freedom slipstreams on limitation.

Much maligned Boundary often brings with itself a double dose of the Creative. Because you can focus on the intricacies a particular problem (or medium) rather than the massive weight of what to choose. That limitation frees up lots of bandwidth. It’s an interesting conundrum of life, standing at the intersection of spontaneity and restriction.

Someone asked me the other day, “What would you do if money were no object.” And really I couldn’t even answer. I have no idea what I would do. Be immobilized by the vast space of potential. Wait for the wind to lift me, sightless and hurl me forward. Then maybe some necessary brilliance would unfurl. Because it seems my creativity only works against a foe -some absurd rule that deserves a good right-brained spanking.

Oh, there’s a chandelier underneath those washed and dripping strokes. A little structure under all that freedom, to hold it up – to give it a roosting place.


Or what?

Heimo Zobernig, now at Simon Lee

Heimo Zobernig, now at Simon Lee, London

Allow me a moment to comment on this confounding binarism I find sandwiched between my toes.

It’s often called “black and white” thinking – the penchant of some people (me) to frame solutions in “either/or” scenarios. Do you want the pink one or the blue? This is either good or it’s bad. It’s the best thing that ever happened, or the worst. Whitman or Dickinson? Male or Female?

I have a major problem with binarism – it’s FALSE. The word “or” should be the warning light – the wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee someone is boxing up the choices. I don’t want cream or sugar – I want both, or stevia, maybe tea. A nice cup of lapsang souchong, perhaps? If we can generate multiple choice in our drinks, what about for other life challenges.

OR limits creativity to generate multiple solutions. I regularly pick up an everyday object (a mug) and think, “what could this be other than mug?” (vase, penny jar, pencil stand, plant pot, light fixture, toad house, soup or cereal bowl, jewelry holder, baling bucket, soil scoop, bug catcher, metaphysical mood meter (is glass half empty/half full?), inspiration piece, homing beacon)

I can see dividing imagined best case/worst case scenarios into a tidy binarism. To envision yourself toward a goal (sometimes frustrating) or  to prepare yourself for the worst. Possibly helpful.

What about in-betweens? Hello! options not mentioned. Consider your job, done in a different way, in a different place. What’s the yellow solution, the blue idea, the green daydream? What if your choosing were colors, we wouldn’t settle for just black or white.

Yes there’s something called option anxiety  – so we distill choices down to two. To short cut an otherwise too lengthy decision making process. Point taken. But.

Do you want limits or unlimited ? I’m kicking OR to the curb.


Gobble

Miyoko Ito

Miyoko Ito

Where are you underneath

the holiday  –  yellow dogpile lines?

lemon lips. Green bean, durkee onion kiss.

I smell the turkey.

Is it done?

cavort you sweet potatoes

Stuff, Stuffed, Stuffing

and thanks for


10 am

Louise Borgeios, 10 am is when you come to me

Louise Borgeios, 10 am is when you come to me, 2006

(Series of hand paintings Louise did about the daily arrival of her long time assistant Jerry)

10 am is when you come to me.

when the clockbeast, its too slow

hands finally pass on

when my toes press to open sand

when this aged crust

strips away to white horizon

the air breathes my name

fingers unbind

your hands bring me yet

sacred red hours

Full installation

Full installation


Personal Margins

Barnett Newman, 18 Cantos, 1963-1964, a lithograph portfolio of 18 pages and one cover page

Barnett Newman, 18 Cantos, 1963-1964, a lithograph portfolio of 18 pages and one cover page

I should say that it was the margins made in printing a lithographic stone that magnetized the challenge for me from the very beginning. No matter what one does, no matter how completely one works the stone (and I have always worked the stone, as soon as it is printed) makes an imprint that is surrounded by inevitable white margins. I would create a totality only to find it change after it was printed-into another totality…There is always the intrusion of the paper frame. To crop the extruding paper or to cover it with a mat or to eliminate all of the margins by “bleeding” is an evasion of this fact. It is like cropping to make a painting. It is success by mutilation…The struggle to overcome this intrusion-to give the imprint its necessary scale so that it could have its fullest expression, so that it would not be crushed by the paper margin and still have a margin- that was the challenge for me. That is why each canto has its own personal margins…These eighteen cantos are then single, individual expressions, each with its unique difference.

-Barnett Newman, “Preface to 18 Cantos,” 1964

Canto XIV 1963-4 by Barnett Newman 1905-1970

Canto XIV 1963-4 by Barnett Newman 1905-1970


Dish

Josef Albers,  Homage to Square, collection

“I’m not paying ‘homage to the square’. It’s only the dish I serve my craziness about color in.”

Josef Albers (1888-1976)