Wednesday, November 30, 2005


There is nothing less or more important than the unhinging of the interior mangle-cords and their wraparound compulsions on the thinking apparatus. The legs are like tree stumps and provide stability but for no obvious purpose. I bought some inks that I thought I would experiment with. The word strangle keeps occuring to me over and over, but I am not sure this is the right idea.

I will finish with my Guston project later. In the meantime, I am crying into my pickle jar. The tears add flavor to the delicious green tubes, giving them an interesting tang.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Philip Guston is my dream date

"If This Be Not I." Early work, still kick ass. Shallow spaces, masks and theatrical social allegory. Inspired by Picasso, Di Chirico, Siqueiros and Rivera. Big ideas, big feelings, beautiful painting.

The Tormentors

This is one of his last quasi-representational paintings of the early years, from 1947. Looking back at Guston's early work is like going on a roller coaster ride to me, you know exactly what is coming next, but it is incredibly exciting. Trying to make sense of all his decisions, his urgent need to continually evolve and absorb influences and events from the outside, always inspires.

Jittery Squishing Fields

Anchored by a grayish or flesh-colored pink fields, painterly effects became an irreducible, essentialized subject. Guston applied the paint thickly in the abstract paintings - the brushstroke became subservient to non-objectivity in his hand, serving an end unto itself. It embodied coherence without overt meaning, a space defined by light rather than form, a favoring of color over image.

However it was generally considered that there was a crisis rather than a resolution in these paintings, not so much a fulfillment in this new way of painting, just a departure from the old way - an acknowledgement of the impossibility of the old way. He said in 1958 “I do not see why the loss of faith in the known image and symbol in our time should be celebrated as a freedom. It is a loss from which we suffer and this pathos motivates modern painting and poetry at its heart.”

Meanwhile, his critics saw a continuation of the expressive and political intentions of his earlier style even in his most formally abstract works. Frank O’Hara spoke of an “openly anxious ego-identification” with seemingly abstract clusters of paint. While Leo Steinberg likened Guston’s meshes of red and gray to bleeding tissue “a universe expanded from a surgeon’s cut.” For both critics there was a powerful sense of the body, as if the artist haunted the work in spite of his non-objective aims.

There was an obvious joy in Guston’s restraint, a dispersal of the artists’ self over the entire picture-making process. His paintings from this time became performances for him, each mark was carefully considered. He achieved an awareness of the material urgency of his medium - to achieve a continuous flow and consistency in handling, quickness of execution was of prime importance. There was a sense of urgent speech rather than the sense of a particular thing spoken.

(Robert Zaller's essay in Critical Inquiry, Autumn 1987 is a reference here - I don't know how to footnote on blogs!!)

Darker, Denser, Messier

By 1954, a significant shift was already present in the abstract paintings, his palette had darkened and his textures had thickened. The abstractions emerged from a grayer, darker field, but there was a clotting, things became denser, characterized by a spooky, anxious geometry. The density was centrally focused, cohering into messy black squares. It was as if the dynamic forces of Guston’s paintings were condensing and concentrating rather than dispersing. This core could be read as the frustrated desire for representation and narrative meaning – he generated pictures through slow manual gestures that still seemed to contain the residue of politically aware, socially conscious narratives, recognizable objects from personal experience.

Guston wrote, presciently, in 1960, in the middle of his abstract period: “There is something ridiculous and miserly in the myth we inherit from abstract art: that painting is autonomous, pure and for itself and therefore we habitually define its ingredients and define its limits. But painting is “impure.” It is the adjustment of impurities which forces painting’s continuity. We are image-makers and image-ridden.”

Imagery Creeps Back

By the 60’s, Gustons’ anguished self-questioning, the weight of decision with which he invested each stroke, seemed a Romantic excess, especially in the light of the cooler and more removed Pop Art that was beginning to emerge at the time.
Things had really begun to shift ideologically with Pop Art and its emptying out of the so-called heroic aims of the abstract expressionists... the earnestness of Postwar abstraction seemed outmoded. Limitless reproducibility was the reigning concept and aesthetic. Pop Art mocked consumer culture but also the cult of difficulty associated with the abstract expressionist. Unwittingly, Guston’s career came to symbolize the embattled fate of abstract expressionism in a new era.

Eventually, in the mid 1960’s Guston’s desire to re-incorporate recognizable forms creeped back. Although he resisted it at first, feeling a polarization between non-objective abstraction and its purity of purpose and his innate need to tell stories through recognizable forms and archetypes. He began to feel that the purely abstract works were hollow, missing something. His initial steps back into figuration were rough sketches of the concrete simple objects around him in his studio – where he spent most of his time.

Guston had virtually abandoned painting at this time, producing instead hundreds of drawings in ink, brush, and charcoal. He was simultaneously making drawings of shoes, canvases, paintbrushes, lightbulbs, cigarettes, easels as well as more abstract drawings, sometimes comprised of only a single line or two. These parallel practices yielded an immediate, straightforward pictorial style that revolved around the line – rather than contemplating each stroke and achieving effects through indirect layering – the lines became the objects themselves spontaneously. The drawings began to be about the creative act itself – generating images with a directness and focused intensity and clarity of purpose that his work hadn’t had before.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Moist Asphalt

Are those not the two grossest words ever to be used in proximity to each other? I've been having visions of getting trapped under hot moist asphalt. I am stuck within it and simultaneously attempting to rescue myself. Nearby, there are noodles. My hair is long and matted, tangled. That is the partial revelation. The rest will come when I am dead.

Florida was beguiling in its freedom to live and love the other. Good for them!!!! Right????

Upon return the apartment has grown shiverous, extremely icy for no apparent reason. I dream I am Paris Hilton in the night, I am Paris Hilton singing together with Morrissey and it makes so much sense.

I miss you all in the deepest most loin-shrinking way. Don't be grossed out. Please. I am re-vamping to re-emerge afresh later. Tomorrow is for teaching so I am preparing a presentation on Philip Guston. He seems like a good idea to me. Next week is the final week of classes, the week after there are critiques or some such nonsense. It is narrowing thankfully down to the end...

I feel rabid. I am unsure. I am seeking of answers in the form of chemically-altered water.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy Turkey Head

Uncle Fritz and I are boarding a jet airliner for Florida tomorrow morning to visit his mother. Today is for gathering the dust and harvesting the dashes before the onslaught of migrations. Krakow must be airlifted to his donkey hotel and I must purchase sand-worthy footwear in the style of Jesus of Nazareth and camouflaging corn patches to cover a world of hurt on my sore dogs.

What I will not do while in Florida:

1. Wear a bathing suit in any way
2. Smile too broadly
3. Poison anyone (promise!!)

I am hoping to move around a bit possibly as it's been weeks since MM has seen any movement in the muscle regions. Very pale, very flap-aroundy. Very un-masculine.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my favorite superpowers:

FB, HP, PD, Sloth, Krix, Lupis/Lupin/Lupus, Chimney Sweep and everyone else. Muchos Gracias for you.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Cake Head

I decorated my head like a cake today, with multi-colored frosting and sprinkles. It has written in cursive "good luck twins" on the very top. If I bend forward you can see it. The twins need luck so I did this for them. Have a lovely day.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

More Paul Nash

He was an official WW I and II artist in England. There is a sense of surrealist space, symbolist space - that each object or feature in the landscape had psychological presence and that what he depicted was not the real world but some kind of epic dream space that was barren and sad, but somehow meditative. That he wasn't just recording what he saw, but imbuing all the explosions and wrecks with mythic significance. I think Paul Nash is totally underknown in this country. I was lucky enough to see a huge show of his paintings and drawings a few years ago in Liverpool. Totally blew my mind. Trees, clumps, airplane remains, monoliths, barbed wire. Panoramic vistas of ruined landscapes. His greatest war painting shows a sky battle with explosions and trails of smoke far off in the distance. I had posted an image of this in the summer but am not able to find it again on the internet. Sadly.

Happy Sunday. It is time for work.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hi there

Fever subsides but antibiotics cause unease and malaise. But better than earlier in the week. Goodness be thanked. There is a wizard update which is: there has been full acknowledgement in writing of all coins owed and 25% of coins deposited in piggy bank. The rest is coming to me in the form of "soon you will be able to cash them" notes. This is an improvement. Threatening language was used ad nauseum to some decent effect. Deadlines were set and emphasized, delay tactics were referred to as ridiculous and unacceptable. MM turned thuglike and achieved something. A little something.

Also, is it wrong to use this blog to shamelessly promote self? Am changing attitude on this since posting images of drawings. There may soon be an announcement about upcoming public display of relics.

I am feeling more like blogging again...the brain is beginning to get re-charged. Hi again. Hi.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sickly Wimp

MM is a sickly wimp. Had to go to doctor's yesterday morning and am now on antibiotics. The details are unwieldy so they will go unmentioned. Tired is the status I can report. Shreds and confetti are falling upwards. I am unholy.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Kitty is Ready

Kitty is ready for battle but I am not. Please teach me kitty. I feel weak. Please reinforce my head with citrus rind so that I may look upon my tasks with less fraidiness, less impossibility. I want to be me but not me at all.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Hans Bellmer Drawings

So good!!! The woozy, wavy lines themselves seem to refer to innards, interiority, unconscious bodily meanderings - echoing and reinforcing the dreamlike content. The lines are so precise, like they are performed, yet they refer to states of matter that seem in flux, out of control. I saw a show of Bellmer drawings at Ubu gallery uptown with Hams in 1999. So long ago...yikes.

More on this tomorrow. Nighty night. I am a fox on the run in the perilous danger of the nighttime hours.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Butter is Grody

You know something interesting about me is that I hate butter. It makes me gag.

Also, I am edging towards the swamp nirvana, an ecstatic hellhole with rotting wooden boats as transport, damp oars and asymmetrical portals. Smiles come unwillingly, it is fine. Hair grows into a dress pattern on your body-notion.


I am going to try to make some friends today.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Twists and Turns

Thought process of entwining, spiralling, interlocking bits and tangling mazeward travels. Heavy and light like ice cream sodas. Happy Day unto you and your kin.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I am dead

But someone please kill me to make sure. I woke up at 5 a.m. in Maryland, got on a train to Philadelphia at 6:40, arrived at 8:30 then prepared for the clients until 12:30 then maintained clients until 7:30 and am now in the train station to come home and it's 8:00 and my train is running late and I want to go home so bad. Fooey. That's all. Also, I am harvesting wicker baskets in my mouth hole. It is very Chesapeake Bay back deck.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I have decided to post images of my drawings. It is a little scary, the first time I am posting my own work. They were made within the last 6 months or so, pen on paper. I suppose it is self-promotive but I am thinking so much about drawing lately - I am looking a lot at the god-like Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Bellmer and Egon Schiele. How the pictorial marks can be descriptive, notational, atmospheric, or remnants of internal, unconscious states. How combinations of different types of marks can tangle, clot, cohere and fragment. I want spaces that are almost over-saturated with tumbling accumulative marks. I need to push them further I think or something. I am working on some more drawings now that are less horizon-dependent and more turbulent, denser, but still referencing the landscape, anchored to reality somehow. I will post those when I am done maybe. Thank you for indulging my need to share...I gotsta go be with my family today, packing a huge amount of items into a large suitcase to end up tomorrow in front of the clients to do a demonstration of some kind that is not worth explaining. Suffice it to say I don't really know what I am doing and need more sleep. Kisses, MM

Friday, November 04, 2005

Inbounded Moisture in Eyeholes

Yes, the life is infusing back into the eyes of this loving freedom fighter. I am computing the damage done to her through the sockets via sword fights and wit-battles.

We are on the same side. Her name is Becky.

I am in love with everyone

I have to tell you that people are lovely and I love them and humans are delightful and thank you thank you for your pow-wows of the night and your porscine enumerations and your placid frank ritual stinks. THANK YOU. I am losing it. Tonight I listened to the unmentionable visions of the emeralds beyond and felt myself becoming one with excellent painting. You may say I was delusional. Yet I am attempting to learn the ways of the headressed and perpetrate totem inspirations. See Magickal Dance allusions care of Fairy Butler to learn more.

I am ready to throw myself in the rivers and forget romancing.

One final note: to be honest, the Fra Angelico show at the Met is the best show I have ever seen with the exception of his frescoes at San Marco in Florence. Really. This show consists of marvels that cannot be matched, the most ethereally glowing lovely panels. I am sick with missing them and have to go back. Going repeatedly should be a priority.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


A loincloth is something I have never worn before. Today is the first day in the experimentation of barely covered private areas. I have a sheep's skin to cover me front bits and a rawhide thong up the back. My fur hat is on. My sash and machete are in place. Check. The battle for spiritual fumigation begins NOW.

Gestural spankings played themselves out, willy-nilly, on the canvas of my choosing yesterday. All in all, there was a forging ahead of creativity. The zone sparkles with anticipation and delight for today, I am hoping my diseased wishes for good painting will come truly true.

I am one with the roar today. The beast is me and I am unshaven.