Monday, September 26, 2011

cartilage sinew muscle & bone ii (unfinished)


A meditation on the unrefined. . . the sublime & the vulgar. Autumn. Picasso. Trails. Rome. The richness of the raw material-- the infinite of the unfinished. The majesty of the mad space-- the cathedral and the mind, each extending to gather space, vacancy, fullness, layers. . . psalms.
fifteen miles into autumn & the run was the work of feet clocking packed clay beneath low clouds, a cool gray day. . . the trail was bulge and recess, scarred by storms and stones and raincuts. the sky was flat, wide and vacant like cotton duck, ancient and flecked with birds. Sepia. Air was push and pull, kneading into the vocabularies of language and image, the legwork of a runner or a painter. the holism of the exertion pushed into a quietude, an alignment. craved a neatness of thought: a combing of mind. a unity and continuum. a process intact.
Autumn embraces harvest & death, is kerouac's roman candle, is blake's tiger, it is rimbaud's afrique and van gogh's absinthe. It is a burning, cherished thing. the old trees of the southern landscape newly stripped and bare: burnt umber bones that thrust from the ground like a child's alphabet. The wet smells of jagged granite in the blue ridge burn the breath, lapsing into gray. Stone & bone. Primeval. Autumn is the lure of the rabid vixens of les desmoilles d'avignon. Autumn is curse & promise. Autumn is wiccan and voluptuous and fleshy and lushlife. Autumn is promise and betrayel and the slip of the spring's veil to smoke and ash. Autumn is paradox and threshold.  smoke, stone and bone.

picasso's bulls, his hooves of ink working into bark and pine needle and dirt, images spun from picasso's “bootblack” paris years onward into the war oeuvre. . . saltimbanques et les paysages cubistes, les guitars ou le journ. . . les assemblages. . . bathers and cassagemas and the shades of blue and the late miles evoked my early inspirations: degas, van gogh, duchamp, cezanne, miro, rothko, rembrandt, de kooning, but picasso was the mark and the centrifuge. . . an enigma of a man infinitely reworking himself. Picasso was deeply modern: horrified by failure, suicide, poverty, sex, cellibacy, communism, guernica, women, stature, compromise. contrasting the depth of his horrors was his degree of self-love, unbound. but whether a tyrant or a gracious soloist, he was nonetheless a canon of modern creativity. Picasso was the carnivale of libido, (the carnivore of libido?), a fact emphasized by his longevity.  picasso and his bulls.

(motherwell's elegy to spanish republic series, probably a direct diatribe or praise of picasso, declares "i am the bull.  i am the picasso.  i am the knife of oedipus.")

Autumn is the potential of the raw and the unrefined, the kinetic contained within the inchoate. gesture and underpainting and stain and brief pours of dead leaves. Its the way a landscape can burn, ravaged, blaze, beautifully, raptured. And I was thinking about meola versus rostropovich or even dvorak. . . cellos and their bellow. . . i was thinking how schnabel was the archetypal 80's painter, filled with rage & ego and greed and a need for space. schnabel's canvas dwarfed even motherwell's larger canvases. . . (equally large was richter, scully, rauschenberg, rosenberg.) but schnabel's canvases were colossal and scale was the grandeur of the 80s art scene (a throwback to renaissance frescoes).  schnabel might be the contemporary picasso, the american version.
michelanglo's nonfinito sculptures-- the slave series, what donatello called the sculpturi nonfinito, a term vasari later adopted. . . referencing the waking slave, atlas slave, st matthew, et cetera.  the slaves contain the points of drills & chisels, of hard sanding, cross-hatching, chunks of coarse marble hammered to show the pock-marred stone of carrera. michelangelo preserved his birthplace in the stone, preserved his process, made the act part of the art.  the documented process became a natural inclusion, a visual history. The postmoderns evolve from this point of the high renaissance, the inclusion of self and the neurosis of that self, the constant movement of the self. . . constant breakdown and recycling towards wholeness.


elaborating momentarily on soutine, i had guilt that my previous impressions were processed, though i gave no images but only language associations. soutine, schnabel, picasso. . . their images remain distinct.  to write about visual art is an irreconcilable thing, to remove the innate by funneling into words words words => Processing.
endurance is the grandeur of idea no matter the mode of expression.  idea and its energy must remain prime and lucid, honest.  To include the Process.  To refuse processing.  its the trick.

laying brick or paint, cooking or running a trail, undisturbed by the barbs of existence while strobbing on the unrefined and arrowed towards a nondestination. . . yogis or shamans or poets or roman janitors. . . every act can be a transcendent act.  anything can become sacred. but the question is always there: What is the prime state of expression?

Monday, September 12, 2011

brunswick nature park & chaim soutine.



the salomon shoes (still wearing last winter's mud), some classic punk, the smoke of leaves, the chocolate woodiness of hot coffee. a sub-70 degree run is as comforting as a fall hoodie.

a cool tuesday and an electric familiar pushes the body through brunswick nature park. . . an immersion of the sounds of pine growth, a deflated basketball of a turtle dragging his shell, heady smells of the damp earth, sweep of yellow necked thrushes, squirrels bouncing branches, sounds of shoes crunching the gravel road towards the kayak launch where the trail crosses perpendicular, cut left, following the creek's tarry bank along the oldest trail of the park before turning into the jerky undulations of the woods. an old paper trail. blood pushes into legs and eyes and core. the words “Cartilage sinew muscle & bone” chant behind nature's seminar of acoustics. A trail run is a burning meditation that engages all the senses.
coolness brings an atmospheric redemption, a body's willingness to move, an innate yearning to stomp out miles on earth's variegated surfaces and the mind bending serious to the hymn of movement. Its an instinct in the new coolness to move and to try to move lithely, to burn the muscles with joy, kicking across storm debris in narrow slices of trail by the black water of town creek which sleeps like midnight quartz.

it is the cadence of crickets and the still drift of white waterlilies and the pungent smells of decay as hurricane irene still lays tangled on the trail and the slopes. the catch of spider webs and their constant disregard. sun & mosquitoes on shoulders. at a corner I shock into two large deer, one darts out in perfect sine movement while the other pauses, her head posed and her eyes black as the creek behind, and she too turns to spring away.
an old man and his dachsund roam the trails and he laughs at me “well i can see you have plenty of energy!” the dachsund runs with me for a few meters and he licks the air and turns back. i pause. the man tells how he kayaks with his dog (jack) at carolina beach and he has the gentleness of the lonely and the aged as he mocks his 72 years. i am torn between the run and his story and i later feel a guilt of not being more present to the him.

Cartilage sinew muscle & bone. the body burns its own fuels of an abstract fire. soutine and his redred landscapes of soppy paint, of mud mingling against a hill's contour with mangled trees and limping architecture. i think of the pastry cook's melancholy. . . his butchery paintings, his trout, his rustic tables with sparse ingredients. Wirey-boned rabbits splayed for an oiled pan. The pigments of carcass, rawanimalpaint, gravy paint. (butcher's paper for his drawings?) the blur of periphery is where soutine resides, in the elusive catch of redemption, the vapid glory of renaissance, in the breakdown of muscle on bone and the depiction of such a thing. unjudged, unhaunting. the detachment with which turner depicted london like a nocturnal explosion. . . nero's firey violin bow or whateverthefuck he played while rome was devastated. Cartilage sinew muscle and bone and not much more to the whole thing, to this architecture of breath and idea and movement and infinity. layers of the aleph. soutine was poor as dirt as a man but his soul (and his soul's palette) was a cathedral. 

the cadence of legs becomes the momentum of mind, and the running season is returning with 15k at brunswick nature park and life is good with the tapping of typing after a trail run in september. Lungs gasp at psalms and miles and autumn may be the one true palette of the year. Like soutine, like a run, like a lunge of lust, a burn of things primed and respiring into winter.