January 23, 2015

group show: the artist's gaze: seeing women in the 21st century

Here's a link to American Art Collector's site for the show: "the artist's gaze: seeing women in the 21st century."

http://www.upcomingshowsonline.com/show/theartistgaze

December 10, 2014

john

"john" 96" x 96" house paint, acrylic + pastel on board










































This is a mural size portrait of a man I met near my studio at Healthcare for the Homeless. He's an artist and a vet. When I met him he was working on a painting of a sculpted block of ice.

The painting will be included in an exhibition at the Albuquerque Museum in January 2015.

flesh

in this here place, we flesh no. 3






































“She told them that the only grace they could have was the grace they could imagine. That if they could not see it, they would not have it. ‘Here,’ she said, ‘in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard.’” [from Beloved, Toni Morrison]

What would it be like to love the flesh;
to love, without shame, the weeping, laughing, dancing flesh;
the flesh which so rarely takes the shape we expect and respect?


These paintings are about loving that flesh. Hard.

October 22, 2014

October 21, 2014

in this here place...

"in this here place, we flesh no. 1" oil on canvas. 24" x 24"





































here's a beautiful passage from Toni Morrison's Beloved:

“She told them that the only grace they could have was the grace they could imagine. That if they could not see it, they would not have it.

"Here," she said, "in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard.
Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don’t love your eyes; they'd just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face 'cause they don't love that either. You got to love it, you! And no, they ain't in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear. What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give you leavins instead. No, they don't love your mouth. You got to love it. This is flesh I'm talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I'm telling you. And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. And all your inside parts that they'd just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them. The dark, dark liver--love it, love it, and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet.More than lungs that have yet to draw free air. More than your life holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize." Saying no more, she stood up then and danced with her twisted hip the rest of what her heart had to say while the others opened heir mouths and gave her the music.” 
― Toni MorrisonBeloved

October 5, 2014

on meditation

mark horst, oil on canvas. 18 x 18"






































"The idea here is to immerse yourself in the feeling-tone of you and consciously access thought-free wakefulness in order to experience yourself with clarity. The practice is to be so unthinkingly in the now, so present, so involved with feeling what's actually happening now, that you override your conditioning about who you are--giving rise to a new experience of you.

Breath awareness during motionless sitting is one of the very best techniques for this..."

[from Eric Schiffmann, "Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness"]

September 28, 2014

beauty and cruelty

mark horst "the holy family no. 36" oil on canvas, 12" x 16"






































But this “universal love” will be found upon examination (like most other utopian projects) to make such severe demands upon human nature that it cannot be realized, and indeed, even if it could be realized it would in fact cramp and distort man (sic), eventually ruining both him and his society. to because love is not good and natural to man (sic) but because a system constructed on a theoretical and abstract principle of love ignores certain fundamental and mysterious realities, of which we cannot be fully conscious, and the price we pay for this inattention is that our “love” in fact becomes hate. [from an introduction to “The Way of Chuang Tzu” by Thomas Merton]

Merton is writing about religious “systems” but I’m thinking about painting and drawing.

For me, Merton’s argument is also an argument for paying attention to the very specific and very individual characteristics of the figure. No two figures the same. No two faces the same. No two hands the same. Just look.

The price we pay for our failure to pay attention to individual beauty is that our looking becomes judgmental and our standard for beauty becomes an abstraction that no individual can approximate: our hunger for beauty becomes cruelty toward ourselves and others.

about me

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These studio notes are scraps of poetry and ideas that feed my work as a painter. I hope they establish a bit of context for the paintings and my intention in making them. Whatever I paint, I’m trying to create some space for us to sit with the questions that are not meant to be answered.

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