member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life


This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo


(Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tango in a Box IV


"Grey Matter Meddling" by Michael Demeng


Part One is here.

In the 1800s, back when everyone was getting their palms and cards read, even kings, there was this guy named Slade. Slade wouldn’t just tell you your future, he would let you talk to your past. Slade was the guy you went to when you wanted your dead grandfather to rock the table or blow on the candles, just so you could feel his presence again. Slade, though, he was making some big dollars, so he got hauled off to jail, for fraud. So far, this is all pretty everyday.


The big deal about Slade was, all of a sudden, a bunch of scientists crawled out of the woodwork and into the courtroom for his trial. And these weren’t scientists he had conjured up himself, either. These were some of the world’s top physicists. Future Nobel Prize winners.


These guys said Slade had a gift.


The idea was, Slade was reaching into the fourth dimension, the one you and I can’t see, and moving things around. This is what I want to do.


And you’ve got to admit, these people, these palm readers and fortune tellers, they aren’t such sticklers about prerequisites. You give them a little money, and they’ll share what they know.


Not like the university, where you can promise them your first-born, and they won’t give you shit.



by Michael DeMeng


The bus drops me directly in front of Madame Belaire’s house. The doors close behind me, and the bus sucks all the air around into a dirty swirl, flapping my hair across my face and stinging my eyes. Maybe I’m too open to suggestion, but the whole world seems deserted and still once the bus is gone. I realize I’ve been standing there too long when I notice the woman in the doorway.


Madame Belaire, she’s just what you’re thinking. I’m looking down at her and all I see is eyes and folds. Maybe I’m too open to suggestion, but from the minute I step inside, I can feel her little black eyeballs clawing around in my brain. My eyes refuse to avert themselves from hers.


I’m shuffling cards that don’t really fit in my hands, thinking my question: what am I doing here? I try to concentrate, but she’s still staring at me, and I have to focus more and more on inhaling. Exhaling. I picture Johnny in jail and tell myself that this is an emergency. Don’t panic.


Madame Belaire snatches the cards and I mutter, “In Shah Allah.” My stomach starts a list of complaints, making me more irritable and slightly less open to suggestion, and then I begin to wonder if her own hunger or mood might affect the way the cards read? Maybe her stomach grumbles, and they say Cook the child.


Madame Belaire says, “Shut up and concentrate.”


I tear my eyes from the little piece of skin I’d been pulling off my index finger and say, “Excuse me?”


Madame Belaire’s putting down the second line of cards, and she doesn’t look up. First, I wonder if I actually asked out loud. Next, I wonder if she actually talked out loud. I decide the best bet is to blank my mind completely. That way, anyone that comes into it, I’ll notice.


“This here,” Madame Belaire says, with her fingernail on a drawing of a letter and a feather pen, “means you’re getting messages from far away. Because it’s pointing this way,” she points, “it’s going to change everything for you.” Madame Belaire says, “Forget about your plans.”


I look at the letter. The problem is, that could mean anything. My body spasms and I’ve forgotten about my bladder for just a second too long when I realize it’s just a cat that jumped into my lap. I shift in my seat, hoping it’s not enough to show through my jeans. Madame Belaire doesn’t look up. The cat paws at my jeans, slicing my legs underneath, and decides on a spot to settle in.


“This here,” Madame Belaire says, the black fingernail on a mountain. “This means you don’t forget about your plans. So you’re going to suffer,” she says. She stares at the cards and doesn’t say anything for so long, I start to wonder if it’s my stomach or hers that’s complaining. I stare at the cards, wishing I knew what she was seeing, hoping she doesn’t really know what I’m thinking. Which is how can I chuck this cat off my lap so it will stop clawing my goddamned leg.


She makes a clicking noise and the cat drops to the floor and waits at her feet. She lifts him up into her lap and rubs his head. He sits quietly, purring. Then she reaches a hand under the table and pulls up a small box, from which she draws another set of cards. Staring at the layout on the table, and completely ignoring me, she shuffles the cards slowly and methodically. Finally she chooses a single card and puts the rest of the stack to the side.


She nods. “Hecate,” she mutters. She grunts quietly.



Vitriol, by Michael DeMeng


I lean forward to peer at the card. A man sits in lotus position, floating in the middle of the card. The closer I look, the better I see he is sitting on the horizon, balanced calmly on the skin of the ocean. One hand stretches forward, holding a staff, the end of which is a woman’s conscious head, and the woman is gazing past us into the ether beyond. Or whatever. The whole thing is reflected in the water--though, since she’s not saying anything and there’s nothing else for me to do, I keep staring until I discover that neither her expression nor the man’s are accurate reflections.


She continues silently watching the cards. I wonder if she’s pissed about the cat. I wonder if I smell like urine. She stands up suddenly, and leaves the room. The cat remains in the seat and begins to suck his claws clean, watching me thoughtfully. I drop my eyes back to the card and edge it towards me with a finger, biting my own nails nervously. The colors of this set are more vivid, much more interesting than the other set. My eyes kind of cross, and then I realize there’s a third version of the pair, traced out in the stars. A door slams, and Madame is back in front of me, where she sits to open a pomegranate. She doesn’t say anything, she doesn’t look at me. In my mind, I’m screaming. In my mind, my pants are dry, and I’m walking out of here, unconcerned. Then I’m screaming again. A letter from far away? A mountain? Who is she kidding? She reaches out and slides her wet thumb across my palm, stretching it open for a moment. She offers me some of the pink, squishy seeds, and in the ten thousand years it takes me to get them to my mouth, I imagine all the different ways a body can become a corpse after poisoning.


I swallow. She nods and grunts some more. “That will hold you here,” she says.



"Vitriol" by Michael DeMeng

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tango in a Box III


"Dreamcatcher" by Mia Araujo

Part One is here.


Chapter TWO


Where my new lease on life really started was before they even caught Johnny, with me in this shit-hole bar in the middle of the city that for right now is my college town, because, contrary to what you might think, my utter terror of human contact does not make me want to be alone, and so that is where I take my books to study. I once read that Glenn Gould, in a fit of panic when his photographic memory wasn’t kicking in in time for a last-minute cram session the day before a concert, turned on every noisemaking machine in the vicinity so as to interrupt the death-grip his conscious was exercising over the lens. Moments later, he’d polished off one of Beethoven’s masterpieces. That’s like the bar: every noisemaking machine in the vicinity, all drowning out the death-grip my conscious has on my lens. Not that I’ve got photographic memory. It’s just that, given enough time and peace and quiet to think about something, I can’t. So, I take my physics textbook to the bar. The most cramped one, with the worst music and foulest air, so that, given the options, my brain is desperate to wrap itself around this impossible shit and disappear into it.


So that’s where I found out about reality streams, parallel universes, and Steven Hawking’s worm holes. That’s where I read about Shrodinger’s cat, forever trapped in a cardboard box, waiting for you to decide if he’s been poisoned or not by opening the door. Because until you open the door, he’s both alive and dead. When you open the door, you’re choosing a reality stream, the course of the next second in history, you control the life or death of another creature. At least the creature this you is watching. As soon as it’s open, you’ve picked your stream, and the live cat is licking some other you’s hand.


So, if you’re still with me here, you’re thinking, I was right, I really am God. Then the next thing you’re thinking is, give me a break.


Some might say that scientists are just the priests of this century, that this is then fantasy, or, from the other direction, heresy, but these are the declarations of some bright and beautiful men, and, I think it’s necessary to add here, they did some experiments. The last experiment you did where you called on God to make your kitty unflatten and peel itself off the street in front of your home, well, how’d it turn out? What I’m saying is, maybe there’s some God in all of us.


What I’m saying is, what if learning from our mistakes means we switch up the cardboard flap we opened and give the cat some tuna for being so agreeable?


I know what you’re thinking. At the time, me too, I was thinking, this is a textbook?


I turned to focus on the television set, a good digestive aid for all kinds of discomforts, and soon I was thinking of Johnny, of where he might be, where he wasn’t. I was thinking, this life isn’t a tango. Then I discovered I’d been ignoring a young man’s attentions and I turned just in time for my expression to match the vomit leaving his mouth for my pants.


I hadn’t even taken the exam on this stuff when all of a sudden the TV turned into a joyous parade of Johnny’s mug and profile behind a string of numbers. And that’s when I started taking physics seriously.



"Sleepwalker's Serenade" by Mia Araujo



*******


The theory is, everything is happening at once. In order to sort things out for comprehension, the brain has to bracket certain areas, much as you would a long math equation in order to complete parts leading up to the whole. Look again at the math equation: all points are existing already. You bracket the section of the equation that spells line, and you see a line. You shift your brackets slightly and now you see a plane. Or a point. Are they already in the equation? Yes. Existing all at once? Yes. The brackets are your paradigm. What you see is what you’re prepared to see. Our brain does this, puts everything into a linear time scale, each point is a place, an occurrence in its surrounding environment. Space and time brackets.


Everything is happening right now, at once. Your mother is not dead, she is focused on another point right now, where you are not looking.


Time travel is not leaping backwards and forwards in time, it is merely bracketing elsewhere. Somewhere, all your possible futures are played out, and all the choices you didn’t make, you made. Don’t like this one? Switch reality streams. Find the other.


Your life becomes like channel-surfing.


Remorse is ridiculous, but not for the reasons you’ve been told. It’s ridiculous to ignore it, because remorse is the pull of your body towards the choice it would have preferred. It’s ridiculous like watching a stupid show is ridiculous when the remote control is in your hands.


The problem I’m having is, school isn’t the kind of place where you get to explore your options the way I’m needing to explore them. The problem is, physics professors are all going to make you go back and study the basics of physics before you get to this, to the really useful information. The problem is, I’d have to spend semesters on Newtonian physics before I’d ever even get to the real discussions about this chapter, the one that’s going to change everything.


Left to my own devices, where I go is to Madame Belaire’s home. It’s right on the bus line, and she’ll read your palm for a nominal fee.


Don’t get me wrong. This is completely academic.



*******



"Hands That See" by Mia Araujo

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Purpose of the Body

The video takes a minute to get going as the musicians prepare, but then...



Friday, March 25, 2011

Tango in a Box II


Image by Ray Caesar

(Part one is here.)
That night, I have shiny dreams. I am in a large hall. I can feel the ceiling, but it’s too far away to see and the marble of the floor glows white through the graying light. Before me, two stone, ridged pillars vanish towards the dark. A man sits on a raised platform, slightly behind them. His cheek bones and chin glint matted gold out of the shadows and a pale white hand reaches out and beckons me. The gold mask glints and my eyes burn then squeeze shut. I feel the airy, marble-cold-feeling slipping away. Now all I can feel is my eyes squeezed shut, and I’m awake. Of course he didn’t recognize me today. At first. Originally, I’m a redhead. A head full of the devil’s fire, my third foster mother would tell me, pulling through it with her perfectly groomed claws, tugging it all back into her fists. This is where I did most of my catching up in math. These sessions would go on and on, pulling encouraging her rage and her rage encouraging her pulling. It’s astonishing how focused you can become when something’s really important to you. When it’s life or death. Suddenly, I’d have a picture-perfect, zoom-in view of some heinous equation. The next day, when she’d have to call the manicurist to the house for an “emergency” fix, it wouldn’t be the missing clumps of hair or the scabs on my head that were the emergency. This was all because of Johnny’s letters in the mail. They must have been good, because she would never give them to me. To her, it didn’t matter that he went to college early. To her, that I was a little behind didn’t mean just in school. All she could see was, I didn’t have my license yet, and he was living on his own. Her pulling on my hair, well, it almost drowned out my panic that he thought I just wasn’t writing back. Back in my one room, I flip on the light, and Dora Maar is looking at me sideways and head on. Behind me, I can feel her staring at me. I walk over towards the window and reach out to touch my face in the pane. Now, I dye my hair, mousy brown, for no attention, not like wild, red, curly hair. Mousy brown, with the straightener you buy at the grocery store, the one with the black lady’s face on the cover, to help me pile it all into a bun that attracts zero attention. No one looks at you twice unless you say something special. Or have a huge chest. I smooth my hands over my double A cups.
*******
The first time I met Johnny, I was buying a ring from one of the easiest places to steal from in the universe. A malachite ring, for warding off jealous dead spirits that might be fighting you for chances when you get halfway past a cemetery before you remember to hold your breath. It had a thick silver band, and I was trying to decide if it would fit better over my onyx, to keep me awake--shaped in a circle like the endless nights I was fighting-- or the moonstone, protecting me from the evil eye. Then I heard through the back of my head Could I sell you an extra finger? You wouldn’t think, with a first line like that, that he’d become the most important person in my life. But you’d be wrong. And then he said, right away, “You should hang it around your neck. It’s better to keep that kind of stone close to your heart, anyway. Don’t you know what it’s for?” My mouth opened and closed, but I forgot to put my answer there, and then I turned my attention to some chains, concentrating on the cheap metal links as if it were a delicate choice. When I turned around again, he hadn’t gone away, and he opened his fist to show me a perfect, cheap metal chain. It turns out he swiped it while he was talking to me, right in front of me, but by the time I knew that, I took it to be a holy act, because he did it, and I was ashamed of having paid for the ring. But that day we wandered around the mall and then walked halfway across town to get ice-cream at the same place that was there in the mall, and the whole time he didn’t say one word about the black and blue marks that had swollen my left eye shut. I was in love with all the fever of your favorite TV soap stars. It wasn’t until we got to the ice-cream counter that I realized what was going on, where I was. What I’d forgotten. That I’d walked all over town with the love of my life and never once sent even the smallest protective prayer his way. The blood rushed to my face. I was calculating at what point I had made the mistake, where I touched him wrong, where I touched something that he then touched, if he walked behind me at all. I was praying the prayers for all possible situations. He was staring at me. The goddamned ice-cream-scooper was staring at me. I fumbled an apology, something about memorizing for a class, something about forgetting. The ice-cream-scooper, he’d been there, too. He laughed. I took Johnny’s cone, passed it from my left hand to my right hand to his left hand, then I took my cone, passed it from my left hand to my right hand. I tried to exhale quietly. We were walking out, licking our cones, and I was thinking what an idiot I looked like when Johnny said, “You know any Arabic?” And then he said, “The gypsies, they have this saying, they say In Shah Allah. They say it for everything--so the milk won’t spoil before it hits their throat, ‘I’m going to buy some donuts, In Shah Allah, My pants won’t fall down in public, In Shah Allah.’ In Arabic, it means something like God willing, but you say it so everyone knows if you say What a pretty girl you don’t really mean May the nose rot off her face. Or so you don’t piss off the fates with all your own plans.” This was one of his less intrusive moments. This was light fare when compared to, say, the time we went all the way to the roof of the highest hotel in town and right before he grabbed my hand to pull me through the trap, he said “Say In Shah Allah.” And then he stuck a pacifier in my mouth so I couldn't repeat it seven times and pulled me up and he held my hands the whole time and we went all the way to the edge of the roof and looked down and walked the edge all the way around the building. But on that first day, I didn’t even know if I was going to see him again. And when I really, really had to go back home, I figured he was going to ask me for my phone number but instead he just looked at me and said, “Well, I guess I know where to find you, then.” The second time I met Johnny, it was in the same place. Because every day after school I’d gone straight back to sit on the edge of the fountain next to the jewelry stand. When he finally walked up, he said, “How long have you been sitting there, beautiful?” And I said, “A week,” and he laughed. Suddenly, I wanted to go home. This was me and Johnny: when he wasn’t around, all I’d do is wait for him, and this got me through the rest of my life, because I wasn’t really paying attention to it any more. I don’t really even remember before there was Johnny. It’s just a haze, really, but I don’t think I liked it much. Instead of taking me home, my legs chose to stop functioning, and I was stuck, I mean, my ass to the fountain. Johnny always said something flip at a moment like this, and swung me up and around like a tango dancer, heading me in the direction we’d start walking. “Well, you must be hungry then,” he said, “and only ice-cream has enough vitamins to pull you out of this.” I emitted a sealish bark, which meant I could breathe right again. The left-right-left thing is cake, when you don’t have to think about breathing, too. And I thought, either he’s got a head like a concrete block, or he just pretends not to notice how inept I am, and for half a second, I believed tango dancing must have been what I was born to do.

Perambulator, by Laurie Lipton Organ Grinder, by graphite artist Laurie Lipton

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tango in a Box

Tango in a Box, by Juarez Machado


So, I thought I'd try something out, sort of guinea-pig you guys. I've put various excerpts from stories I've written up here before, but most of those stories ended up being pretty long, too long to continue in a blog. But there's this one story that's short-ish. So I thought I'd subject you to it in its entirety, piece by piece, several times a week (with interludes to tell you about various artistic heroes, of course) until it's done. We'll see how it goes.

Tango in a Box is a story about a college student whose life changes drastically as she reconnects with someone who was greatly important to her in her adolescence when he is suddenly imprisoned. The Machado painting is relevant in various ways, but mostly because of the size of the room the couple is dancing in. Picasso's Portrait of Dora Maar also plays a pretty big role, so I'll introduce her in this post as well.


Now, for parts One and Two:


Tango in a Box

In the one-room weekly where I live, the floor is lined with Portraits of Dora Maar, leaning up against the wall. I painted them. I have no other artistic ability, and I don’t mean other than painting. I mean other than painting Dora Maar. The room I live in, it’s on the seventh floor. It’s the seventh room on the seventh floor and there are seven Portraits of Dora Maar lined against the walls with a bed in the middle, so don’t plan on doing any effective pacing. There used to be a TV, but I made them take it out, so now there’s room for two whole folding chairs, one for me and one for my book bag.

******* *******


Chapter One

Already I can’t breathe, and the weight of the door slamming behind me pushes the air further from my chest. As the next door opens and the bright glare of the room emerges, filled with faces and motion and a hum that grows ever-louder as my attention struggles to manage this second sense, hearing, I run my fingers behind my neck, underneath my hair and seize a chunk. I tug until the pain begins to wash out my other senses and I can walk towards the first set of empty plastic bucket chairs and ball myself up out of the way.


The wait is interminable, and I have to stay conscious for all of it, afraid he won’t recognize me, not expecting me. Right now, my eyes are almost tearing from staring so hard at the door on the far side of the room where I figure he should come out. Right now, I’m trying to ignore the man in the grouping of chairs next to me, in a seemingly stream-of- consciousness monologue berating a small child for showing disrespect towards her mother, who adds her tongue-clicks and loud sighs, repeating the lines she especially likes and interjecting shrill, drawling I means and can you even believes. The smell of perfume is overpowering, and my head is swimming, right now I’m chewing my lip and kicking my leg in unison with the berated child.


When I finally see him, my body flushes and swells with blood and I watch myself shoot to my feet and fling an arm in the air, waving him down.


Right now, he’s staring at me. He looks down and then to one side, and then everywhere but at me as he walks towards me. He sits in a slouch, his feet firmly planted a good distance from each other and his hands on his thighs. He looks at me again.


Right now, I’m stuttering. I’m seeing this isn’t where he planned on the grand reunion. I say, “I know this, I mean, this isn’t.”


Inside my head, we’ve had some great conversations today.


I say, “Look,” and then I take a deep breath and when I let go of it, “Look, you’re all over the TV, even without one, I couldn’t miss you.”


I’m making sense, now, right?


Johnny’s smoldering rage is starting to look like a sneer, but still, no expressions I recognize on him. I pinch the piece of skin between my thumb and forefinger, just to be sure. I say, “Well. I knew you couldn’t have... I came to tell you…”


Now I’m not sure what he’s doing, I can’t even look at him. I breathe. I rub my left thigh, smooth it down, push my right jean leg into my right thigh, breathe again. I look up. Johnny, he’s staring at me instead of talking and so I decide it’s my job to smooth over all the discomfort verbally. I talk about how none of this matters, about how I’m going to get him out of here. When I can’t think of what to say, or when I forget how to form syllables, I just stutter. I think, he’s really glad to see me, this is going well. I think, he’s just in shock. I apologize a few more times, just to be safe.


“No,” says Johnny, and when I look up his face is very still, like he’s listening, and my breathing starts to slow back into a normal rhythm, the colors in the room start to separate and deepen. “You’re fine,” he says. Then he’s silent again.


He leans forward a little, and he’s thinking about what he’s going say, I think it must be for the first time in his life. He says, “How did you get them to let you in?”


“It’s because I drove so far,” I say, my face is trying to smile and I start to hiccup. “I said I was your stepsister, I said we’ve always gotten on badly, but with God’s help we can change that now.”


“You said all that, and in complete sentences,” Johnny says, like he’s reading a teleprompter, but I know him, I can hear him trying not to laugh. So I laugh.


“I practiced,” I say, pressing my jeans into my thighs again, left thigh, right thigh, quick breaths. I’m starting to worry they might kick me out of here, these hiccups are going to take down the walls.


He leans forward, looking around as he puts a hand, just for a second, over my hand, stopping everything, then returns to his slouch.


“Relax.”


I flush and look at the floor. Another year goes by.


He goes back to the teleprompter: “So what have you been doing, all this time.”


I shrug, still looking down. Is it polite to talk about college courses, right now? I concentrate on not pressing my jeans down, and say, again, “I’m going to get you out of here.”


He nods. He’s looking around again, and he leans forward, and he says, like he’s spelling the words, “When are you coming again?”


Hiccuping, stuttering, I’m thinking why don’t I just not leave, but I say “How about next week, I mean, if that’s ok.”


Johnny says, “That’ll be great.” He’s still not looking at me. Finally he says, “What sort of sisterly name did you give them, and I’ll put it on my list.”


Shit.


I hiccup again.


“I’m sorry, I just, I told them, I didn’t think, I just told them Bethany.”


But Johnny’s smiling, still looking at me, his eyes still on my face, smiling. He says, “No that’s great, Bethany, perfect. It’s better that way anyway.”


*******

Friday, March 11, 2011

Perception is Reality


(please press image to see larger version)

Sakah Galerie is located in the Saint Etienne district of Toulouse, described by its owners as “a charming enclave where streets are intertwined and lost playing hide and seek with the light from the sky and the shadows of history .” From March 5- April 20, 2011, they are presenting the works of Anne Bachelier, whom I’ve written about before here, and Catherine Chauloux.


La Balade du Mandarin

Catherine Chauloux uses a fascinating combination of styles, textures, and techniques in each painting to create a layering so full it brings the painted fantasy into a multi-dimensional existence—into reality. Above, you can see the flat, one-dimensional representation of a beast in the yellow and red ochres and bulbous central shape of old cave-paintings, though thickly plastered on like a fresco. The figures in front join us, the viewer, straddling the gap between us and the creature painted on the wall—the fullness of their bodies and clothing contrasting strongly with the painted, stylistic creature, bringing them into three dimensions.





Aigle Royal Air

In Aigle Royal, she adds anachronism to further fill out the image: the huge bird lumbers along on its long claws, steered by a World War II pilot, pushing its head through the cave wall to look out into the future at its passenger, sitting down for tea on her European antique armchair, her opera glasses swinging freely. This is the new physics: this is all times overlapping, being seen at once, waiting for a viewer with his or her particular perspective to come and decide what is really going on. In her paintings, Catherine shows the world through space instead of the way we usually look at it: through the filter of time. One space across time?—The actual bird, the impression of the bird on a first artist, the cave or rock wall it was painted on, a plane flying overhead, a woman in a newly-built home with antique furniture—all of these melt together in the space you’re standing (sitting) in now, the painting in front of you. Maybe the filter isn’t space, after all; maybe it’s the impact of great heights, a meditation on flights of nature, of miraculous machinery, of fancy (hence the silver tea service and the opera glasses). Whatever it is, it’s a filter that Ms. Chauloux gives you, the viewer, artfully.



Note the head pulling itself off the wall, thus bridging the one-dimensional existence and the three-dimensional existence with his awareness and experience of both.


La Course

And in La Course, the cave-painting style is mixed with the much later fresco technique of thickly “plastered” on color. Notice how the outer edges of the thick blue material around the woman’s waist is still of that texture, still part of the “wall,” where the rest of her fills out towards you in an “easel” style that makes the figure all the more real for the contrast. She is pulling out of the past, out of the painter’s imagination and into your world. She is pulling you into the painter’s imagination. Or her memory. Or the memory of our shared consciousness.



Or, indeed, memories of an alternate history, as in the image above, where some hybrid cheetah-giraffe has been melded with a chariot. Or at least the plans were made, and the only “sketchy” part was the attachment of the wheels.


Autruche Gordini


Dame Chevalier


Moby Dick

But there is an even further effect: she is not suggesting—or it doesn’t seem so to me—that you be pulled in passively, that you continue to stand there until you’re bored and move on to the next painting. In Moby Dick (above), we can see a much higher purpose. Here, the whale who drives the tragic tale is thrice-underlined as man-made—for it is the idea of the whale, the idea of revenge, the idea of being completely lost in the vast depths of the chaotic (stormy) elements (think of the ancient Biblical tale of Jonas)that makes the story so destructive. Here, not only is the whale in the one-dimensional style, it is mechanical, and a man in period dress is calmly measuring its dimensions, as if still putting it together (still working towards his own destruction/demise?), his plans strewn about the floor behind him. There is a small joke in here: a “real” whale seems to have been swallowed by the monstrous mechanical contraption, and you can see its tail peeking out the back-end. But in the upper left-hand corner, the painter takes the entire story to task. She is escaping it, pulling her body out of the painting, and at the same time painting over it. No more whale.
You are creating what you see. You are choosing what, of all the things forming out of the atoms around you at once, to perceive. Chauloux is an artist after my own heart, energetically erasing the tragedy with a coat of fresh paint.


By Anne Bachelier


By Anne Bachelier

She shares her current show with another painter who draws her images out from the mists, pulling aside the curtains of the pre-formed universe so that we may, for a moment, meet the gaze of the actors in those mysterious events Anne Bachelier has chosen to make real. Above, you can see three levels of existence: the central red figure, the figures swinging around her head, and the ones marching along at ankle-height.


By Anne Bachelier



In Bachelier's images, you can see the many layers of volition, many creatures holding many strings, dreaming the world or directing its marionettes…

You can read my earlier post on the work of Anne Bachelier here and see her own gorgeous blog here .

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Little Excitement


Today I found out one of my paintings, Eve Reborn as the Phoenix II,was published in the March 2011 issue of Pink Panther Magazine (page 33). I'm even more excited by this issue, though, because on the cover is one of the coolest paintings ever, with a great title:


She Knew She Could Fly, by Catrin Weiz-Stein

I've written about Catrin Weiz-Stein's work before here. There are several of her paintings in the magazine which I hadn't seen before. A few examples:






There is also work by Cynthia Lund Torrol, whose style and technique I love, and who I've written about before here.





A gorgeous issue... and you can get a print version here.