Queer (1) Intimacy of Visual Logic
Alchemy is a kind of philosophy: a kind of thinking that leads to a way of understanding. -Marcel Duchamp (2)
As artist, we must practice this alchemy daily to expand the visual terrain. -miChelle Vara
The Root of Re-Action
This project is a ruptured reaction that started in February 2017 with the review of a photograph called Arm Fuck, by Joel-Peter Witkin and snowballed from reaction to investigations of Landscape: Space – Time Figure: Relationship – Physicality – Reflection Force – Submission Reaction: Movement Sex – Slang Ethics – Truth Emotion: Primal – Fear – Hate Silence Sublime into connecting atrocities against human rights, taboos of sexuality, leaving me to investigate morality. Furthermore me to question a Nation that empowers and allows ego to run wild like a spoiled child -ramped, and looks at kindness as weakness.
The Blog posts over the last three months follow my circles of thoughts research and inspirations.
“The act of resistance should be joyous and irresistible.” (3)
For most of my upbringing there was an intense focus on morality what it was and how one should live by it. From the beginning morality had shame connected to it that would become attached to your soul and follow an individual to their grave. My family was intense and tight having been from Italy and Catholic by decent. My father’s generation was the new generation-activist of the 60’s movement trying to open boundaries of the mind with extensive action and education. I am the first family sprout from that generation which means the residue of Extremes & Catholicism pops up.
The social and political environment we have experienced recently in the world around us has been an assault on what I believe is the morality of human rights.
The name of the photograph Arm Fuck, by Joel-Peter Witkin during this artistic investigation becomes the bigger picture metaphore, for this body of work called “Queer Intimacy of Visual Logic”.
Queer is used as a facet of diverse strange. To date this contemplative process has generated over 1200 pieces, not counting journal entries. Initially I was inspired to create the sculpture titled ˈembrēˌō/. Crucial to this sculpture and its expression is the kinetic aspect of the top circle.
The newest works are derived from the sculpture embrēˌō/
The Y of Embryo
imploding and exploding the original and derived works through humor, drama, metaphor and contradictions.
mVara_111.Foil Sculpture 2
I further developed my understanding through investigation of Morality -Space, Truth- environment and abstraction,
and contextualizing these through the concepts explored by Agnes Martin, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. As a conclusion to this series I intend to organize my visual findings into a book.
- L) Journal submishion 4/9/17:
Every thought and action is as if a tree growing from source.
- L) Journal submission 3/28/17:
Note to self: remember to daily record ideas, impressions, and observations as they occur wherever they occur.
- L) Journal submission 3/20/17:
Womb- many describing factors to process, where one is – connect from and to.
Void -Connection. Messy interaction.
My thoughts are intuitive and multifaceted; bringing forth perspectives sometimes in the form of memory and others that unfold as an ironic interactions – :
While trying to find dates for what Barnett Newman called his ‘dark years’ I came across my copy of Agnes Martin: Paintings, Writings, Remembrances by Arne Glimcher which I had read in January to coincide with viewing the Martin retrospective exhibition at The Guggenheim Museum (NYC). When I stumbled over this book I thought, how timely.
My new work looks as though I purposely created the drawings to connect to lines of thought that circle Agnes Martin’s On A Clear Day, where she writes “there free from environment and made as a response similar to music.” (p. 61)
My initial response to Arm Fuck was embrēˌō/ which rapidly expanded further beginning the look at morality put into drawn responses.
There is a clear, visual difference between Martin’s and my work; Martin’s work is linear and fine, but mine is bold and simple. Where I connect my approach to her’s is through what she expressed in the following words:
Artwork that is completely abstract – free from any expression of the environment- is like music and can be responded to in the same way. Our response to line and tone and color is the same as our response to sounds. And like music abstract art is thematic. It holds meaning for us that is beyond expression in words. (4)
For months, I have been repeating Martin’s concepts without realizing it, especially “meaning beyond words”; and I have found the same sentiment expressed by many other artists, such as David Smith. Martin uses words that I find perfect as a description for this segment of my work: thematic, abstract, free from environment.
- Exploration X
Looking at Arm Fuck I drew it down to simple lines and shapes, with and without color: morality and social contrast, leading intuitively through reactive steps of unfolding thoughts.
One of my steps into the work was to purposefully free myself from my initial perspective of what I found to be expressed through the context of the environment would describe this as being ‘appalled boredom’.
Yet, this was not at all the response of other people. The general consensus
I encountered to the photograph was ‘rE-Rctively hoRRified’. That response I took
into a separate set of drawings.
Another step was to draw from both sides of side of ‘appalled boredom’ within the environment.
After rumination on the connections between Martin’s and my work I re-read the book Barnett Newman by Thomas B. Hess to stimulate further reflection and inform spirit into additional ideas that inform drawings and photographs expanding the series.
Through narrative I considered how Barnett Newman in his works The Blessing and Gea, both crayon drawings, lead the way in connecting the Gea story and circle motif to twenty-five of my Arm Fuck- ˈembrēˌō/ drawings.
The goddess Gea (Gaea or Ge) is a personification of earth, the first being that sprang to Chaos; she gave birth to Uranus and Pontus (the sea); by Uranus she became the mother of the Titans. For both the Greeks and the Romans, she reigned in the underworld. (Hess, p. 47)
For me this story was a fully charged battery of underlying narratives with which I could contextualize the work I have been doing with ; creating symbolic layers of body, morality, human rights, sex and nature, and applied notably in my series. I found the paragraph filled with obviously amusing metaphors that surface in this section of my work stemming from the photograph. One immediate thought about Arm Fuck is the blurred human head could be read as the equivalent of ‘chaos’. Chaos is an exciting entry point that I have often connect to that energy to draw from and carry further into photographs, paintings and sculpture. Add sex as a secondary means of access space and the exploration of ideas becomes explosively boundless. The composition of the photograph draws the viewer’s attention to the surrounding space and centering the focus on unfocused to create a semblance of shape into state of being. I see all of these things as Arm Fuck. Arm Fucks Reach into Humanity is overwhelming. This part of the series is still not fully examined nor developed but does contain fifty drawings and numerous photographs.
Finally, it is important to note both of Newman’s crayon drawings depict embodiments of Joy that are found in the sculptures Three Pi and embrēˌō/ and that same Joy is tied into many of my new drawings in this series.
- Reaction Space
This project is a ruptured reaction which snowballed into connecting atrocities against human rights, leaving me to question morality of a Nation that allows ego to run like a spoiled child -ramped, – and find weakness in acts of kindness.
With this became another set of steps slogging from a reactionary space that turned into metaphors on ‘boundaries’ that produce reflective drawings and writings.
Metaphors for Arm in the Ass and cross references to the social and political environment we have experienced recently in the world around us has been an assault on what I believe is the morality of human rights.
“Queer Intimacy of Visual Logic”
Arm in the Ass
And some say filling
A gay derby of indiscreet
Pain – Pleasure
Who’s to gain
What a shame.
Humanitarian senses violated
Visual senses vomit curiosity’s
Pain – Pleasure: old questions
All that is- is on your side.
become a bearer of good
fight for light
I got some awesome, closed and open minded responses and reactions to the work in conversations at a private organized gathering of people who are not like minded, but were invited to talk honestly about Arm Fuck as a philosophical perspective about politics and art over a drink -kind of like a book club. You would not believe how interesting and varied the conversations were, and, for me, offered hefty information to draw and think with. Arm Fuck stirred a wide and at times heated variety of controversy.
253.Embryo Toy Box. Photograph
My photographs have become the anatomical documentation. (3) Using embrēˌō/; to reveal the connective tissue, of intuition and inquisition forming the structures that expose the wide range of perspectives; I have come to understand as visual dialog.
The problem I continually come up against is how wide a range of subject matters that my natural curiosity leads me to research and digest into works of art, which leaves me in a complicated place for explanation in words and crunched for time.
Anatomy of exploration:
- Investigate environment, metaphor, object.
- Temporal environments: that moment- that ship- that lighting
- Spatial concept: Ideas
- Planes: depth, surface
- Conversations of space and mind
- Question object life: If the object was alive what would its memory thoughts, be or could be and can this be communicated?
- Reactions: to photographs, to sculpture, to environment, to cross-sections of contamination.
- Dimensions of visual conversation that can stem from one object
- Document outcomes
I have grown to love making small sculptures, something I never expected nor would I have ever pursued had I not been traveling to Berlin, Germany. Small sculpture adds an entirely new set of opportunities. I found they have a way of revealing personality traits of the viewer in a way different from larger sculptures and I, as the artist, can control or demand how attention is directed, and interacted with. Small sculptures are very rewarding for me personally, and just plain fun!
While working on my final project report The Geometry of Joy and revisiting the readings and work of the past two years I realized Joy operates at many different tempos. Revisiting the works has helped me to understand this and the revelation of these tempos and the qualities of Joy have enriched the context of the works, exposing things I initially had not seen.
M.Vara. A_17 (5)
This leaves me to wonder when work is destroyed am I missing an opportunity to later in life revisit it and gain a different perspective that could have been revealed by its continued existence?
- Future Intention
Develop the photographs of embrēˌō/ into a set of mixed media works. From
the sculpture create more sculptures. I am undecided as to how and what the
parameters of their birth should be at this time.
In Declaring Space (3) Mark Rothko wrote:
If one understands, or if one has the particular of space to which a painting is committed, then he has obtained the most comprehensive statement of the artist attitude towards reality. Space, therefore, is the chief plastic manifestation of the artist’s conception of reality. It is the most inclusive category of the artist’s statement and can very well called the key to the meaning of the picture. It constitutes a statement of faith, an a priori unity, to which all of the plastic elements are in a state of subservience.
He also says:
I think of my pictures as dramas; the shapes in the pictures are the performers. They have been created from the need for a group of actors who are able to move dramatically without embarrassment and execute gestures without shame.
I realize Rothko is speaking here directly to painting, but I believe his concepts cross media and connect directly to the spectrum of my work and ideas. My sculptures are performers, dramatically moving and revelling without shame in front of the camera. Photography is, for me in the words of Rothko, the “chief plastic manifestation of the artist’s conception of reality. It is the most inclusive category of the artist’s statement and can (is) very well called the key to the meaning of the picture”.
Sculpture Photography Paint
Using metal sculptures as the subject in photography has become a tool with which I build a platform upon which I can view the work; a platform where the visual conversation is deepened and findings of the experiments I am conducting are revealed; in a sometimes true or false sense of communicating. There is so much going on in my head, photography is a one clarifying stop of the shutter. Through photography and sculpture I, the artist, speak of a complex interplay within – and between- space and object abuse metaphors- revealing a bigger picture.
In the case of embrēˌō/ the interplay is one of autobiographical abstractions, pun humor and disgust.
This concept of photographing sculpture as an extension of the creative process to the work acts to further the development of the ideas into visual language; it is something I believe David Smith didn’t get time to fully realize, although in his writings I see traces of the idea. For me this realization in conjunction with Smith’s work possibly stems from looking at his sculpture and life through the formative years of my artistic practice.
To close this section, from The New York Times, May 27, 1979:
Looking at the shapes that seem to result rather from some mysterious process of exhalation than from any more conventional technique of drawing, we remember Seurat. Looking at the images of germination that Newman produced in the mid‐1940’s, we feel almost as if we were looking at the magnified spoor of some creature that is too small for us scrutinize with normal sight. Looking at the four watercolors in which aquatic microorganisms float against broad vertical bands of color, we cannot but think of Kandinsky. Looking at the irregular oval that recurs in several of the earlier drawings, we remember Odilon Redon.
None of this in any way downgrades the originality Newman’s achievement. It simply reminds us of what we know already: that major art does not come from nowhere, and that the major artist is in nearly every case the one who relates most cogently to the great art of the past.
- Last thing
It is important for anyone who reads this to know that each work from this series, each visual object; could have a dedicated written description, all its own to explain the visual, symbolic and metaphoric depths and concepts which it contains and connect to the world around us. This document stands only as an overview and a summation of my work process over the last ninety days. In no way through this writing do I want to corrupt the stimulation that the work offers through direct, personal observation.
Please remember art is best experienced in person.
(1) Queer used as adjective or Metaphor-
strange; odd: she had a queer feeling that they were being watched
synonyms: odd, strange, unusual, funny, peculiar, curious, bizarre, weird, uncanny, freakish, eerie, unnatural, unconventional, unorthodox, unexpected, unfamiliar, abnormal, anomalous, atypical, untypical, out of the ordinary, incongruous, irregular, puzzling, perplexing, baffling, unaccountable, fishy, spooky, bizarro, freaky
(2) Alchemical Mercury: A Theory of Ambivalence, book by Karen Pinkus, pg159.
(4) Agnes Martin, Painting, Writing, Remembrances, book by Arne Glimcher, Publisher: Phaidon Press,Publication Date: 2012, ISBN: 0714859966
(3) From Wikipedia: Anatomy is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts.Anatomy is inherently tied to embryology, comparative anatomy, evolutionary biology, and phylogeny, as these are the processes by which anatomy is generated over immediate (embryology) and long (evolution) timescales. Human anatomy is one of the basic essential sciences of medicine.
The discipline of anatomy is divided into macroscopic and microscopic anatomy. Macroscopic anatomy, or gross anatomy, is the examination of an animal’s body parts using unaided eyesight. Gross anatomy also includes the branch of superficial anatomy. Microscopic anatomy involves the use of optical instruments in the study of the tissues of various structures, known as histology, and also in the study of cells.
The history of anatomy is characterized by a progressive understanding of the functions of the organs and structures of the human body. Methods have also improved dramatically, advancing from the examination of animals by dissection of carcasses and cadavers (corpses) to 20th century medical imaging techniques including X-ray, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging.
Anatomy and physiology, which study (respectively) the structure and function of organisms and their parts, make a natural pair of related disciplines, and they are often studied together.
(4) Declaring Space. Mark Rothko. Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, in association with Prestel, by: MICHAEL AUPING, Prestel Publishing, September 2007,ISBN-10: 3791338862, ISBN-13: 978-3791338866.
XXXXXX_ sinice Ive posted this the conversation got started about my choice of name using word: Queer_
Cant wait for this conversation! = Sunday _