* drawing, TFD, 012707
Monthly Archives: January 2007
fur sails unfurlthe wide squirreldives into gravitydirectly toward the unseen foxyet somehow the squirrel escapes the inevitability of trajectoryand has no idea of what did not occurI watch him climb back to the place where he launched himself toward certain deathwe animals have few alternatives
Works of rare authenticity and significance by a regional genius, Mr. Imagination, enliven the entire main floor Cohen Gallery of Reading’s GoggleWorks through March 1, 2007. Born Gregory Warmack, in 1948, Mr. Imagination grew up negotiating the dangerous streets and alleyways of Chicago. A violent near-death experience brought him a unique kind of aesthetic/spiritual enlightenment. He discovered that every moment and everything in the world is precious, unutterably beautiful, and brutally truthful. Since that unique once-in-a-lifetime epiphany, Mr. Imagination’s life has involved the continual transformation of the material into the metaphysical by artistic means. As he has produced his work in many places around the globe, it reflects the circumstances of its creation – because it is created directly from parts of the environment by virtue of the artist’s experience within it. The items created in the rough city are cool and hard edged – their emotional intensity bound up inside their totemic architectural exteriors. Since Mr. Imagination has moved to nearby Bethlehem, PA, his work has taken on freer, more naturalistic aspects that reflect his intensely personal experience within the natural world..The work on display at the GoggleWorks is at once severely personal and intensely universal. It is as if a savant communicates only by means of incorporating pieces of our world into magical assemblage and we understand his every “word.” How is it that this solipsistic world view evokes some wordless harmonic oscillation within those of us who are fortunate enough to come into contact with its concrete results?Unlike much, perhaps most, “official,” schooled, certified, academically trained, and canonically influenced work created by those self-consciously identified participants in the art world, Mr. Imagination’s output is authentic, true, and beautiful. It is uplifting, inspiring, and revelatory. For a rare occasion, an urban gallery space is transformed into a magical place. And who among us would not flock to experience a truly magical place if we knew one existed? Let it be known that from now until the first day of March, Reading’s GoggleWorks is such a magical transformative and revelatory place.*Mr. Imagination Images: Installation view; Headboard; Alligator Man Figure; Throne Room.
* drawing, TFD
* drawing, TFD
The second meeting of my art classes elaborates the notion “the map is not the territory.” An important part of seeing clearly involves not accepting our mental/ linguistic images of things as representing our experience of things in themselves. Simply put, the words we use to describe experience are not the same thing as experience itself. They are like numbers in relation to real things. A word is an abstraction – a brief mental shorthand for an actual experience, which operates by its own rules and takes on a life of its own inside the mind. Words have a tendency to replace the experiences they refer to because they are static. Reality is dynamic and difficult to grasp. Words are simple. They have a sort of hypnotic power in themselves. We become accustomed to things to the extent we become accustomed to our verbal explanations of them.A map is a piece of paper we accept as an (accurate) representation of miles of landscape. The map itself is nothing like the territory it attempts to represent.A drawing or painting of a tree is nothing like an actual living tree – with its tons of material, internal, and environmental complexities.. The word “tree” and a painting of a tree are remote imitations – generalized symbols for experiencing particular trees in their environments. Ultimately, the concepts we have in our minds replace much of what we experience as the world. And so the task is to understand that what we think of things is not the same as experiencing things. The directive is to attend to what is experienced and not what is thought to be experienced.Our interpretations are not the same as our experience.We can live in a world of symbols (basically inside our heads) or we can experience the world as it is in the present. Direct experience is unmediated.
Turn your attention within;Don’t memorize my words.You have been turning from light to darknessSince before you can remember,So the roots of your subjective ideas are deep And hard to uproot all at once.This is why I temporarily use expedientsTo take away your coarse perceptions. – Yangshan (807-883)
Getting back to teaching after a long vacation. Each time it seems to be more necessary. Early classes involve learning relaxation, stresslessness, positive thinking, and open-mindedness as methods toward creative living. I indicate these are achievable and highly valuable states of mind and they can be applied to the demanding situations in which we find ourselves while living in the world.Before one begins the process of learning to draw one must first become familiar with the differences between our ordinary method of “looking at things” and actually “seeing things.” To that extent, my class is a class in perception. To study perception is to study the way our senses can be fooled by visual, aural, spatial illusions. Understanding how and why these illusions affect us and affect our perception and thinking comes next. In order to become a creator of illusion, an artist must first understand the nature of the components of both what is illusion and what is real.Class last evening was a coming together – a situation for me to recall the steps involved in moving to more integrated ways of being conscious and how best to pass these methodologies on to my students.Teaching is not something I do for money – I don’t need the money. It is something I do to keep me close to the source of my own self-discoveries and to offer them as useful and valuable to others – others who have already made some real commitments to learning.
Super-organism of mind. Externalized nervous system of digitized human impulse.We live here in mental ways,Inhabiting this cyberspace always and forever now.Even when we are not attending to it, it carries our interactive messages.They live. They are read, assimilated, repeated. They evoke responses in our absence.We leave them here and return to them. We return with the periodicity of planets circling stars.Our new selves are here.We are compelled to return to access the new selves we create here.They are who we are as recreated daily in cyberspace.Our digital personas become an externalization of our urges- to communicate, to extend ourselves throughout space and time.They have a life of their own.We access and interact with our digital entities- striving to become them, even as we create them.