Saturday, May 15, 2010

A few words on my painting hiatus...

Also, some words on my current work and where I am going with it.

My relationship with canvas and paper is a rocky one. I am touching the charcoal and crushing it into the fibers of the paper, and I can always feel it as though it has the same effect on me. I build up paint like skin, layer after layer, faulty coats that won't hide what is underneath. Yet I always step back and think "what a great study, what a wonderful search" and I drop everything to just let it breathe for a while. It takes too long, because it takes exactly as long as it needs to. Why am I not given more time?
I am not trying to be clever by building a body of work that is mostly invisible. Like a second self existing inside of myself and the only way you know it's really there is that I have shown you its fingerprints; I have shown you the instep of its right foot; I have shown you the way in which it isn't afraid to tell you how it is feeling. Its blood is my blood, its work is my priority.
If I took paint to canvas, you would see something else. You would see a self that is not sure of itself. I put this mark here because I know that it belongs here, but inside (deep inside) I know that it doesn't. And I know that years of moving it a quarter inch to the left will only give me mild satisfaction in finding its rightful place, but by then the entire scene will have changed. I would rather carry out this relationship while you are not looking, it is going to take me too long to explain to you what my mother's face looked like when she realized that she was going to have to go it alone. I would rather show you what her face looked like when she cut her hair in a crowded gallery and let go of her "baby", in her own handwriting, eyes tearing up because she is starting to understand.
Every time I put a mark on a piece of paper, I think about an experience. By the end, the paper is a mess, my right hand has a smear of shimmering graphite all down the length of it, but I can't see the experience anymore. The experience becomes about the violence of those marks and the dirtiness of my hand. Why can't I just show you the experience? I was here, I did this, I wanted to show you. I wanted you to experience it. You can't crawl into the paper and feel what I felt. You can look at it and pretend, but you can't feel it how I felt it. I was there, I wanted to build something for you that you could hide inside of forever. I wanted to make this work for you, whoever you are. Because sometimes I just feel so. alone. And I wanted to know if you felt that way too.
I can't paint you something beautiful, because things that are beautiful get overlooked. Things that are beautiful are just looked at because they don't need to go deeper. "I like to look at that, it is pleasing, it is pretty", but what if I want to give you something deeper than that? For you to have to get closer, to participate... to afterwards question yourself only to find yourself beautiful. To find yourself deeper. To find yourself.
I feel like I am getting there. I want to dissect my ego and find out why it wants to swell. I want to give everyone I know a chance to let me inside of their head and for me to fully appreciate them for it. I want everyone to be able to let go of what is hurting them, the way that I can't let go of what is hurting me. Show me that it is as beautiful as I promised myself that it would be, because with paint I falter. With ink and graphite, I make these messes that look like what is on the inside but I would still have to tell you. I don't want to tell you anymore. Tell me what you think it is about.

Take what you want from this, it is for you.

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