Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#290 American Thanksgiving

32x30 acrylic and oil crayon on canvas

Friday, November 21, 2014

Memorial to E. Passyunk PoemTree, 2010-2012 #287

48x22 acrylic, Poem cards, aluminum tabs, American chestnut leaves and found stuff mounted on plywood.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014


34x36 strips & chips of wood, acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How can we recover our creativity, if we aren't ready to renounce art, have done with the isolation of aesthetics as a specialty, and absolutely reject--work to destroy by whatever means prove effective--the vile usurpation of creative effort by the gallery to investment pipelines--to resist comodification of self and work as nothing less than a life and death struggle? Is there anything more vile or than the idea of a "professional artist?"

Friday, October 31, 2014


32x40 acrylic on canvas. light through trees, Morris Park

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


31.5x14.5 Acrylic on packing box cardboard

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#56 There's a Soldier in the Garden of the World

Cardboard, paper, roofing paper, torn US currency, acrylic mounted on rusted sheet metal

Friday, October 24, 2014


28x20 acrylic on Masonite


Paintchips on rusted metal. Found object mounted on wood, acrylic.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


24x12 Acrylic on canvas.

#280 36x34 Acrylic on canvas. Samhain, Full Moon Fire Circle, Faerie Fall Gathering

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Narrative Realism: recycled

This is the preface to a review of an Alice Munroe story in the New Yorker.
This is Part II of a review of Some Women, by Alice Munro
Naming the Real in Realist Fiction. Here is Part I .

Three posts on Critical Narrative analysis

No artist tolerates reality." says Nietzsche. That is true, but no artist can get along without reality. Artistic creation is a demand for unity and rejection of the world. But it rejects the world in the name of what it lacks and in the name of what it sometimes is.
Camus, The Rebel

When I first read this, I noticed an ambiguity in the English translation which I assumed would not exist in the French. As the likely pronominal antecedents (une exigence, and le monde) are of different genders, it would be clear in French that the first refers to 'artistic creation,' or rather, its 'demand,' and the next two, to 'the world.' But {this demand) rejects the world in the name of what ( the world) lacks and in the name of what (the world) sometimes is. However, I find that there is something to be said for the ambiguity and for the creative misreading it allows. If we understand 'world' and 'reality' as synonymous (as Camus apparently does here), make 'artistic creation' the subject and turn 'demand' into a verb with 'writer' as its object, we will have pregnant formulation of the problematic of realism and representation. .

Artistic creation demands of the writer
that he/she reject reality
for what it lacks
and for what it sometimes is.

To this I would add, that artistic mimesis, what we think of as 'representation,' the very possibility of artistic realism, arises out of an encounter with what reality 'lacks.' What constitutes realism--what any work of art represents ( pictorial, dramatic, literary, musical) is not 'reality,'' but its 'lack,' the artist's endeavor to complete reality, to make real what was give to Airy Nothing a Local Habitation and a Name. Which means the distinction between 'realism' and whatever name you would give to its antithesis, is false. There can be no distinction, and any criticism over-determined by the assumption that there is, will fail in its encounter with the work. With this in mind, let me turn--or return to, the story I've set out to review.
In an EARLIER POST, I wrote that writing:
is a process of negotiation with the material at hand and every act, each engagement with that material translates both material and intention. ... because the author's intentions have been in a continuous process of translation along with the writing as it evolves, what existed in the beginning, and at every point to the completion of the work, is a continuum of difference that moves both forward and back.
We can't recover the process or recreate the stages as they evolved in the continuing encounter, but I believe we can identify imprints of that encounter, evidence of the reality which shaped the elements of the writing as it emerges in its final form.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

#277 Three Who Found Truth

15x48 Oil-stick, acrylic, dirt, sparkles on weathered plywood

Friday, September 26, 2014


Mounted fragment from house fire, acrylic. 29.5x25

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

#273 Fish

28x35 acrylic, street trash cardboard on scrap plywood

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Appropriation of art by the Master Machine

So many variations on how the Master Machine appropriates, dilutes, and controls what is alien to it. For art, some of the mechanisms are mediated by the benign face of NGO's and grants, others are ground up in the maw of naked capitalism, like the gallery-to-investor system for the visual arts (and make no mistake, galleries, if they are to be successful, are there to serve investors and commodification of art, not the artist)--but the end is the same. Even when the message is subversive, in the institutional setting of a museum or high end gallery, it's digested and reconfigured in its AESTHETIC robes, teeth pulled and declawed.
"But how will we make a living?" the captive artist cries, like any cubical wage slave. So we sell our children to serve the Master Machine, and call it freedom.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Class and the Sunday Funnies

Somehow, while washing dishes, I thought of Joe Paluka for no discernible reason. There followed names of old comic strips--Bringing up Father with Jiggs and Maggie, the Katzenjammer Kids, Gasoline Alley. These weren't my favorites, but I read them all, Sunday funnies spread out on the living room floor.

Got me thinking about class, and how central it was in the old comics. Has anyone done a serious study of changes in how class was depicted in comics, and how that changed over the years? Related, I'm sure, to changing audience. Change was particularly noticeable through the 50's, As the largely working class audience, home from the war, college on the GI bill, moved into the middle class, the comic characters, too, 'graduated' from the immigrant, working class world that was so much a part of comics in the 30's and 40's.

The total absence of blacks, except for gross caricatures now and then, is telling. By the mid 60's, comics no longer represented the kind of mythic universalizing (white) lens of America the way they did when FDR would read the Sunday funnies on the radio. There's an interesting story in this. I wonder if anyone has done it?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

Artist? Or servent of the Empire?

If you are an artist--of whatever sort: we all need to live, and have to find the means to make our art. But there is no wall that insulates HOW we go about this from how it works out in the world we live in. How it supports established power, whether we want it to, or not, or doesn't. This. fucking. matters. You CANNOT claim to be an artist... of any sort, if you are unwilling to turn your creativity to thinking about how what you do, and how you seek to support yourself, works out in the real world. That means developing a politically aware conscience. If you just want to entertain established power... in exchange for their support.. you are their house servant, and you have sold out your art. x