Friday, September 15, 2006
Painting As Obituary
Jackson Pollock Alchemy, 1947
When I am in my painting I’m not aware of what I am doing. It is only after I see what I have been about. I have no fears of making changes, destroying the image etc. Because the painting has a life of its own.
Jackson Pollock, 1947
MANY lives of its own?
HAD many lives of its own?
Like the city street a traveler sees for the first time. First glimpses construct for him “the street”. All future changes will be compared to this original. As if this was the original state of the street. Time changes this street as the traveler begins to understand the quotidian decisions and catastrophic accidents that have constructed it before his arrival. Building a narrative of past and future still fraught with lingering mysteries around his first glimpsed eternal marker of present.
When I have lived somewhere long enough to feel my own feet wearing down the streets I walk on each day. When I can imagine the thousands of other feet before my own. When I know what was there before, and how it was eliminated. When I know what is there now will be replaced in time.
I am terrified.
The finished painting is like this first glimpse, but without the terror of continual alteration by you or any other. With the relief of something you will not wreck, improve, or change by looking. The relief of not having to act, to encourage, to put in motion or to stop. The relief of not being asked to choose the form of what you see. The painting has no physical future. It allows you unlimited time.
Earlier I wrote that painting should not be an obituary. But no, the painting is different kind of obituary(here’s where the lack of good analogy for painting falls flat). As obituary, painting’s cohesion as a single image without the beginning or end of a written text can address the unlimited narratives of its own lives in being made.
By what is still visible in each painting, all narratives of making are described. If eliminated, they are still suggested by those still visible.
Battering a painting into a single narrative is a redundant act of heroic violence I am loath to attempt.