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Late in the afternoon,

Alright, I’ve given Paglia a fair shake, but alas, no. The energy required to sift through her self-aggrandizing provocations to find nuggets of meaningful insight is more than I have to spend, especially when other books beckon. Let it be known that I approached her latest with goodwill and open curiosity, and made it through a full third of the essays and interviews printed therin.

I like the paper the publisher chose. It felt like crisp linen sheets on my fingers as I turned each page. A first for me; the quality of paper upstaged what was printed on it.

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I could not overcome a growing distress over the state of the world as seen through Paglia’s judgemental lens. For me, she misses an interesting examination of the rich complexities of what it is to be human by directing our gaze again and again back to herself, as a kind of Queen of Opinion. I suppose that’s the game of (mostly white) pundits and politicos, as paid by the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, FT, etc… to divide and distract us.

Not playin; I closed her book.

IMG_2631Popova now, in Figuring (2019) introduces me to complex, interconnected humans I’d never hoped to learn about and from in this way – Johannes Kepler, Maria Mitchell, Caroline Herschel, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Sophia Peabody in the first five dancing chapters alone. I will happily carry her bright yellow book with me until it’s done and my mind is fully changed by it. Likewise with Shotwell’s Against Purity (2016), Tsing et al (Ed)’s Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet (2017), Berger on Landscapes, another on synesthesia, another on natural soundscapes.

 

 

 

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Like a spring filly released into the field, I am without academic harness for the first time in 2.5 years. I can read whatever I want to.

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With gown and hood, I graduate from my masters program, then drive around Southern Ontario (as we do) for 17 hours, to deliver, pick up, visit, revisit.

Before that a week of family and friends, to celebrate the beautiful complexities of my Dad and the resonances he leaves with his passing – another kind of travel, through time and story.

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Before that, 20 days of a journey in and through Dublin, Lyon, Tuscany, Florence, Edinburgh and all the related airports, train stations and car rentals, going backwards through the history of my ancestors, taking note of the ideas and economics and systems that formed their world, centuries ago, in four cultures and three languages.

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May feels like a long run-on sentence I have yet to punctuate properly. It sits in a pile of boarding passes, maps, brochures, museum tickets and restaurant receipts on my dining room table.

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But I am Home, where the plants and the windows, the kettle and the bullet-strong coffee, not latté, cafè latté, espresso or cappuccino, much as I love all of those.

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The park and my patient, glowing studio, the now-opened books, my excellent bed and windows in all directions. My cello out of his case and ready for ritual every morning, the starlings singing through the bathroom window.

Home which feels different because I am different after these journeys that still need punctuation, these travels I still need to claim sense from. All in good time.

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The horizons have been pushed far far beyond what I imagined; the world is impossibly, curiously new. There is plenty of good work to be done here which I’m happy and eager to begin.

…after I read just a little more.

 

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#Water: Surface tension

There are four new paintings living in my studio as of last week.  The experience of watching them come to be was shared by good friends – an artist, a poet, a songwriter, a filmmaker, a composer throughout the day and evening a week ago.

Here’s where they came from – a photo of my painting wall taken a year ago, after the #Selfie paintings were done and hanging in the gallery:

This is a huge canvas that has served as the 'catcher of drips' on my studio wall for the past six years. it will become four huge paintings - each with five years of painting drips embedded
This is a huge canvas that has served as the ‘catcher of drips’ on my studio wall for the past six years. The drips on the right were accumulated in five months, the ones on the left over five years.

The plan six years ago when I treated and hung this dropcloth on the south wall of my studio was always to take it down when it got interesting, cut it up, and stretch it into paintings.  I did this last Tuesday, which was also a revolving door day here, many visitors – SO exciting.  It took some time to find the pieces that fit each stretcher, but I have ten so far that work, with the possibility for one or two more.  Here’s the largest one:

I'm in this so you get an idea of scale.  This puppy is wider than my wingspan.  But it had to be.  I see dragons...
I’m in this so you get an idea of scale. This puppy is wider than my wingspan. But it had to be. I see dragons…

Here’s another, medium-sized one that’s quite different.  I see a moray eel…

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Then there are these two – also mid-sized…

this one is close in size to the previous one.  I see sunset at dusk over the water
this one is close in size to the previous one. I see sunset at dusk over the water
This one now hangs with the red at the top.  It looks like a torrential storm
This one now hangs with the red at the top. It looks like a torrential rain storm

There are six more smaller, more intimate & delicate ones – I’ll  post those as well when they’re stretched.  These are all paintings about water, by water, which found its way and made its mark with the help of gravity and paint.  They’re part of a multi-arts installation/show I plan to launch in October-November (will announce where and when soon when all the details are in place).  My hope is that because these are also music-based pieces, it will tour in medium-sized music venues with or without the performance component, and encourage discussion about and around… water.

Ubiquitous water, with it’s cohesion and adhesion properties.  Essential water which becomes political when big money gets involved.  Reflective water which perhaps tells us more about ourselves than we think.

Water that spiders walk on, that whales swim in, that hangs in the sky as clouds and freezes inside buried pipes.  In the paintings that water has made over five years there are sea dragons, moray eels, thunder and lightning, heavy clouds, peaceful reflection. Chagall came into the studio yesterday and thought these would be wonderful things to work with. I agree.

More to come – look for #Water.