Friday, August 19, 2011

work, a run, and auerbach.



a cycle of complacent meandering has come to an end and i've got to begin the work again. bend the back to the field with rough hacks, dull blades, stareoff against empty grounds (paper, canvas, wood). Vast fields, easy to get lost in, the labor of idea/image. . . millet. . . . . . so I am reading levine who was just announced as the new poet laureate and his work takes me right into the detroit guts of winter, the forlorn winter daze, jaundice street lights, the unromantic life of the american (auto) worker, the grime of floors and hands and grease, horns, a life stamped in shifts, petroleum eyes.  get this line:  "his blanket of newspaper rises in the breeze, a giant butterfly mottled with slaps of rain."  a real recession writer-- empathy to the worker in his detroit-eroded language.  poems that breathe like an assembly line.

luxury of thought.  images that explode into smoke, flash, vapid. “one day i'll paint in an armani suit.” ridiculous. this i wrote in an old journal, scribbled nine years ago, a copy of a nude bending off the margin, bookmarked by an excerpted manila page where i've inked an orchid, two tables' orders alongside the drawing. Server-artist. Artist-server.  shit. there is no luxury of thought any longer- just catalyst and response. the fleas of modern america, the fleas of minutiae.  probably should be a meaning, a poetry of things, a music perhaps, something beyond stasis.  the luxury of a whirl of thriving pigment and vitality. but recently i'm looking towards the impulse, the gesture: van gogh ink drawings (pure nature, holy nature, “i am whole in nature” he said), the fauves, kline, the canvases of baselitz, giacometti, the works of frank auerbach. 
i was thinking about Frank Auerbach while kicking six miles in the neighborhood, thinking of his name, the hard german “k” of bach, a hacking abrasion of sound, a mouthchop, a sound that is found in his work were one to experience synthesesia. his berlin roots, a jewish boy born in the thirties who got out of germany before the train got him (already had his parents, suffocated them with work, with deplorable conditions in a camp), the boy went to london, art school, became a gutlevel rabidass painter with the surface of his grounds sagging in the weight of paint and much of his work was shown flat so the paint wouldn't cave in, fall like thick clay plates to the floor of the gallery. Monochromatic panels move in textures that carve out the image, a forest thrusts through mudpaint to emerge out of a dozen or so final brushstrokes. the head portraits, something like a forest fire with eyes, a melancholy salmon/leek terrine gazing in 3/4 profile, or a girlish face infernal and pouring elan vital, ganked from some base impulse of perception, an emotive glance, the subconscious impression (a much darker, a more subjective place than the french impressionists' viewpoint), a picture dragged through a mire of mixed complementary colours to primordial tones, browns far from neutral, a process seemingly immediate but sought deliberately across hours and hours of posed seating. . . auerbach fully inspires me, engages me, invigorates me that he remains a powerful paint handler.  it is a good life when someone can paint over sixty years, tirelessly working for new brushmarks, tirelessly working with Paint.