Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A poet risks leaving this trace in the someday Collected Works.

A poet risks being found out by the readers.

A poet risks becoming a symbol & never read otherwise.

A poet does not risk oblivion. That is a given.

Blobjects & Wrangling Spime. (via Rebecca Blood)

---------------- Begin Forwarded Message ----------------
>Subject: to Michael Helsem from a "bourgeois artist."
>I am an artist showing at Artist' Showplace.
> I know where I stand right now,since I my own worse critic as I sit behind the
>easel, striving to produce work with not only technical excellence, but also
>emotional and "psychic" content.

i couldn’t ask for more.

> I joined the Artists' Showplace to gain exposure while I work hard to improve and
>build a body of work to approach other galleries in the area and nationally.

commendable professionalism. i’m sure there does exist a market for it; & i doubt anything i say here will hurt your chances there.
>...gallery, which probably means you aren't impressed with any such work anywhere.

that isn’t necessarily true, but when faced with walls & walls of indifferent views indifferently executed, i admit it takes something extra special to stop me in my tracks. Van Gogh once stated his conviction that a canvas covered with paint HAS to be worth more than a blank one. there appear to be many of this persuasion among us...

>I find this very tragic, since your words are read by many people out there who
>look to something like theDallas Arts Revue to gain insight on what the visual art
>world in Dallas has to offer.

it would be tragic indeed if i regarded any medium or genre as inartistic in itself. (the closest i come in that regard is contemporary country music--but after more extensive exposure, i did start to like a few particular songs.) and if people came to Dallas Arts Revue & found nothing but nicey-nice blurbs, i wonder if they’dreally trust anything said there at all; whereas dialogue & debate, it seems to me, better indicate a flourishing arts scene.

>Representational art is not something to be thrown into one category
>called "bourgeois art."

it was revolutionary when Courbet did it. “the party on the left/ is now the party on the right”.

>With every piece I paint, I aim to stike some chord with the viewer's emotions, and
>much thought goes into design, values, color contrasts, edges, etc., to achievethat
>special something that makes a viewer relate in some way to that scene. This is why
>I paint, and I do not believe for a minute that my I am less of an artist for
>this.The last thing on my mind is toproduce something to decorate a yuppie
>suburbanite's Pottery Barn living room.

if there were no other pictures in the room, & no other destinations clamoring outside it, some sort of pleasantly unfocussed relating to that picture would be guaranteed. the real context is quite otherwise (see below)--& it’s part of the artist’s unenviable task both to realize this fully, & to try to overcome it. Auden once stated his ambition was to create something that a man on Death Row would not feel insulted by. i don’t know that he often succeeded; i do know that once having understood this thought, it’s very hard to take seriously any art whose only goal is to furnish a career for its manufacturer.

>I know that I speak for many fellow artists, such as Kevin Macpherson, Alexander
>Titovets, Clyde Aspevig, David Leffel, Matt Smith, Desmond O'Hagan--- the list goes
>on and on. Or do you even know these people?

‘fraid not. i do realize there is a considerable subculture devoted to “traditional painting”, & it wouldn’t surprise me to find someone even as good as Norman Rockwell among them. (i LIKE Norman Rockwell.) what does surprise me is that in a world full of an almost infinite number of things that have not been painted yet, & an even larger infinity of ways of looking at & presenting those things, the few people still interested in representation seem utterly content to reproduce typically artistic subject matter--without even introducing (as far as i can tell)
either their own immediate experience as nonbucolic city-dwellers, or their own anxieties & desires as 21c. citizens in a world of shattered foundations & mind-boggling enormities. i would welcome these things being painted. their decisive absence is what makes this kind of painting “bourgeois”, not the style of it.

>Maybe you should do some reading up.

you know, as much as i despise commercial films, i am not infrequently amazed that they continue to come up with a product, however conventionalized, that i can still relate to. that’s because, in spite of the belief that viewers want nothing but escapist fantasy, they will go ahead & fill those escapist fantasies with realistic images of human transcendence & suffering. contemporary novelists, likewise.

i have yet to meet a representational artist who even knows what the “Ash Can School” was--much less, wants to pick up where they left off. --m.

>Judy Gelfert

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