Friday, December 18, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Xio Yau and Wei Baogong

Wei took the picture of Xiao and I in the post below this. Xiao's son, whom I got to know well, is called "humanity" in Chinese. I could not understand the word, sadly...and so called him wo de xiao peigno (pidgin is off)-- my little friend.

They live in the village next to mine in Songzhuang, as they have for 9 years. Wei paints, Xiao is a mastermind organizer and coordinator. Formerly a soldier in the army, she met Wei and now lives the art life--facilitating, translating, planning, orchestrating.

We met in 2005 at Red Gate. Xiao arranged for Wei and a friend to take me to the Great Wall on a freezing December day. They picked me up early; we ate dried grape fruit on the way. Delicious. The three guys wore green Mao coats with fur lining that were very warm. Once we reached our destination, about two hours north of Beijing, we crossed a footbridge and paid a few yuan to a local family before heading to an old, crumbling part of the wall. We were the only ones on it that day. Mountains rose and fell around us; shadows moved across them as the sun shifted over the sky. After several hours of hiking, we returned to the family's home, where they made us a warm meal. A photograph of Mao was on the table.

Afterward Wei, his friend and Xiao drove me to a Buddhist temple, with expansive grounds. They told me to go in alone. I entered a passage lined with bamboo. Moving over the grounds, I saw enormous Buddhas, an 8,000 year old tree spread over a lattice and another extremely high mountain with a criss-crossing path. I sighed. How could I not climb it, though my feet were frozen solid and my legs sore from the Wall? And as I climbed, and climbed, I reached the top, where Beijing spread out before me, a flat field illuminated by a gold sun in the distance. As I descended the second major climb that day, I heard bamboo soughing in the wind. The van with Xiao, Wei and their friend idled in the parking lot outside.

I was transformed. I had seen scrolls from my own perspective, the journey they represent over a duration of time and moving through a place.

Wei loves Yuan Dynasty painters and has a copy of Huang Gongwang's landscape book. He is a classic Buddhist Chinese scholar, adept at painting, calligraphy and also serving tea. Four years later after the Great Wall, when the picture below was taken, he was sharing his books on the great Chinese painters. Later, we shared philosophers--he did not know Francois Chen, but told me about Red Pine and others working in the United States. I continue to learn a lot from Wei Baogong and Xiao Yau.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brooklyn, Brooklyn

Missing it keenly -- the warm kitchen -- clementines -- the night cold.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Solo Museum Exhibition

Thursday, November 12th, 2009 is the opening of my solo exhibition
A World of Splats, Gestures and Images
at the Albany Museum in Albany, GA.

A catalogue is available with an interview by Tyler Emerson-Dorsch.

I am extremely excited!

Friday, August 28, 2009

New American Paintings

Edition No. 82, curated by Ron Platt of the Alabama Museum of Art...I'm in it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Camera Lies Fallow

Wanting to write more--take less pictures--collages in the studio abound, ready for the next step.
Thinking with my eyes, how travel makes its way felt into a painting through the process of making.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Daily Rumi: August 8, 2009

You that come to birth and bring the mysteries,
your voice-thunder makes us very happy.

Roar, lion of the heart,
and tear me open.

-Coleman Barks, trans.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Paul Jenkins

When I saw Jenkins' paintings in Paul Mazursky's Unmarried Woman in the late 1970s, I thought nothing of it...but later, they had an impact. Both kitschy and beguiling, the paintings offered the pour as a solution to my work, when I was questioning how to make a spontaneous painting in the manner of Chinese scrolls. Jenkins was influenced by metaphysics and this too is interesting, for part of my love of Chinese painting has to do with its confluence of all matters, earthly and ethereal, in landscape.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Two Great Blogs on China in June 2009

Stefani Foster LaBrecque and James Prinz blogged their recent trip to Dunhuang, Gansu Province, where they represented Northwestern University in training the Dunhuang Academy photographers to use a rig for photographing the MogaoKu (Mogao Caves). Jim's blog is linked above and Stefani's can be found below; both offer rich visual essays of China.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Beijing Sojourn

Paintings made during my six week stay in China, inspired by the MogaoKu Caves, Songzhuan Artist village, and Beijing.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Watching the Wire, reading Walkabout, preparing for China

“The fiction of race keeps people from aligning with their material interests. Race ameliorates class conflict, allowing the minority (wealthy) to rule the majority (the poor). Race is our greatest and most useful invention and is created and recreated constantly. It is un-subtle and does not respect the complexity of our lives at all." Kirsten Pai Buick

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Grantpirrie Window through March 28, 2009

Bats fly over the Domain

Each night in Sydney, the bats fly from the Botanic Gardens over the highway to the Domain, where the Gallery of New South Wales is located. They are loud, squawking, and the wings flutter, one hears cries as they swoop and eat insects...hundreds of them fly at dusk, each night...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Asia on my mind

Thinking about Asia, as I prepare to leave for Australia next week. This is a six-foot tall ink portrait I made in Taichung, Taiwan, in 2004--my first trip. I prepared all day for the changeable experience of painting the dynamic city: lights switched on and off, the sky changed, and this is what Taichung finally looked like, late at night.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bridget Riley interview with Michael Craig-Martin

Painting is, I think, inevitably an archaic activity and one that depends on spiritual values. One of the big crises in painting--at least a century or two, maybe even three centuries old--was precipitated by the dropping away fo the support of a known spiritual context in which a creative impulse such as painting could find a place. This cannot be replaced by private worlds and reveries. As a painter today you have to work without that essential platform. But if one does not deceive oneself and accepts this lack of certainty, other things come into play--they may be the reverse of what one would expect. Rather like colour, whose instability can become another form of certainty. So the absence of something, especially something necessary but which cannot be easily identified or discovered, has sometimes led to a very exacting quest in modern art. At the end of his life, Monet painted his largest, grandest and in many ways greatest paintings about virtually nothing; about looking into a huge expanse of water set with a few lilies in which unexpected colours appear in the depths, or elusively in reflections. It is a most mysterious, extraordinary subject in which he invests all his experience and power. In the end there seems to be hardly any subject-matter left--only content.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Travelling, Travelling

Preparing for Grantpirrie's window project in Sydney at month's end...weaving space through seven panels.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This Land Was Made for You and Me

Someone mentioned the other night that a pour was never an accident. No. But it is a mystery and that is the allure.