Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Bill de Kooning

I recently worked on a prose poem celebrating de Kooning and some of the other New York School Painters. I thought I would share it in honor of Bill's Birthday. Enjoy

The Irascible by Owen Harvey

De Kooning.

Like light on silver,

de Kooning is

looking at water

reflecting water

reflecting standing

like a clam-digger

or a swimmer

being touched

by the silence

of water.


Pollack is breathing

after swimming in the salt ocean,

cold lungs filling with breathing

like smoke out of lungs breathing

like swimming out of the salt ocean

like smoke over the salt ocean

like the salt ocean swimming in smoke.

Smoke and salt caught in a rose-bush.


Imagining red imagining yellow imagining blue.

Light as tall as the sky.

Light as wide as the horizon.

Light to the edge of the plane.

Light to the edge of the canvas.

Light disrupted.


Spilt wine on our bed sheets,

the sun is stuck under water.

A rainbow spills

like color resting in oil

forgotten on the pavement.

Morning is the sadness

of wine after rainbows.


The sound of broken glass unable to reflect color

as it drags like nails across the dark blackboard.

A loud ca-caw ca-caw

from the murder out our window

as rained birds wait

with wet plumage

for the sun to dry their feathers.


To paint the last painting

is to paint the last painting

that one has painted

before painting the next last painting

one is going to paint last.

A black tarp is gently layered down,

black clay over the naked earth:

a blackout boogie-woogie.


Exploding fire

above the terra-cotta,

the unfixed

with the fixed,

a modern baroque

broke like words into image

like image into soul

like soul into hieroglyph,

a language without tongues.


A bloody tissue accidentally lost

in your pant pocket.

A widow’s laundry hangs long dark

and shadowed

on the clothes line

after a hot summer’s rain.

The pain of remembering something

while it is being forgotten.


A doodle is gesture

is stepping is dance

is air is breathing

is cosmos is epitaph

written in the mystery

hidden beneath a mustache.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Abstract Art at ASK March 6 - 27 2010

I am excited to be participating in the upcoming ASK members show that will be focusing on Abstract Art. Abstraction and non-objective painting have been ideas (or processes) I have struggled with ever since I first picked up a brush.
The piece for John Ashbery is in response to the poet's poem Blue Sonata. I still remember reading the poem for the first time on a summer day in Woodstock with my daughter. We were looking for poems to study together, and I was grabbed by the line "we live in the sigh of our present". It made me think of Kandinsky's ideas on the spiritual in Art and the writings of Meyer Schapiro on Mondrian. The poem made me wonder if abstraction is capable of existing outside the present, or for that matter , can abstraction exist outside its making? Either way, abstraction cannot exist in some other place, or as I have written before (not) in some other place.

The piece Glide was painted before Ashbery. Glide was painted in response to Dave Hickey's Flatland as I tried to work away from the composition I had settled on while working through the Irish Airman Series. Hickey's text and A Theory of /Cloud/ by Hubert Damisch both encouraged me to challenge an idea of space in my work- an exploration that is exaggerated in a work like Ashbery.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Music as Muse at ASK

This past year my family and I moved to the Rondout area of Kingston, NY. As a Christmas Gift post the transition, my spouse, Hillary, gave me a membership to the Art Society of Kingston, which is located just down the block from us on Broadway.

This members show is my first participation with the organization. I submitted my piece Toward a History of Glam Rock (Iggy, Bowie, & Lou) for consideration in the upcoming Music as Muse show.

The piece is an extension on my exploration of W.B. Yeats' An Irish Airman Forsees His Death:

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above...
...A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

My first exploration of the theme was done with white, black, and silver in 3 parts. I think it was the silver that directed me to consider glam rock as an avenue of influence as well. It was a step away from the machine to expression.

The Airman and the Performer both need to live in the present, balancing between the corporeal and the ephemeral in their pursuit of release.