Category Archives: Thoughts

A Dialog…

Mazza_CHJen Mazza: (A Dialogue of Three Disciplines)
hi Richard,

I was just finishing Joselit’s piece and found it funny/interesting that many of the things he talks about are things I have picked out from other readings. Like this quote by Hito Steyerl, which refers to her medium and documentary film, but resonates with my concerns about painting:

But let me make one thing very clear: to engage in the language of things in the realm of the documentary form is not equivalent to using realist forms in representing them. It is not about representation at all, but about actualising whatever the things have to say in the present.  read more…

Painting = Machine

Blow-Up_(no._1)_2013_oil_on_canvas_36_x_47_inches

I think all of the ways of being affected by an artwork are valid and interesting, but my question centered around what it was I wanted my own work to do. I feel it likely that I stick to painting because I enjoy the physicality of it, the goo aspect. The way the goo makes the image come over on you, not just retinally, but with the complicity of the eye it works directly on the body to engage many more senses than the one. I decided that in fact, it did not matter to me so much what a painting looked like, but what it did.  read more…

 

The sky, it is blue, and other Aha! Moments, ie: The Momentary Manifesto

SkyHole

“My intention …was instead to describe what remains: that which we generally don’t notice, which doesn’t call attention to itself, which is of no importance: what happens when nothing happens, what passes when nothing passes, except time, people, cars, and clouds.”   Georges Perec

Recently I was describing the complete and utter revolution I’ve experienced in my artistic practice, only to have the listener remark “but that sounds like what all artists do in the studio”.  At that moment it became clear to me that perhaps I needed to develop my language skills… a bit.  But I must say that on some level she is correct.  Yes, I am doing what all artists do in the studio.  But now I am doing it DIFFERENTLY than I was before. Continue reading

Darkness Visible

This view of the symbiotic star system R-Aquarii was taken in 1990, during the Hubble telescope's first year of operation. The two dark knots at the center of the image contain the binary star system itself, consisting of a red giant and a white dwarf star (the stars appear dark as the camera detector system was saturated by the very bright objects).
This view of the symbiotic star system R-Aquarii was taken in 1990, during the Hubble telescope’s first year of operation. The two dark knots at the center of the image contain the binary star system itself, consisting of a red giant and a white dwarf star (the stars appear dark as the camera detector system was saturated by the very bright objects).

“At certain hours of the day the countryside is black with sunlight”
Camus (Nuptials at Tipasa)

“Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear”John Milton (Paradise Lost)

“I am beginning to use pure black as a color of light and not as a color of darkness.”
Henri Matisse Continue reading

Not thinking of princesses

Shipwreck

“I envy – but I’m not sure that I envy – those for whom a biography could be written, or who could write their own.  In these random impressions, and with no desire to be other than random, I indifferently narrate my factless autobiography, my lifeless history.  These are my Confessions, and if in them I say nothing, it is because I have nothing to say.”

“What is there to confess that’s worthwhile or useful?  What has happened to us has happened to everyone or only to us; if to everyone, then it’s no novelty, and if only to us, then it won’t be understood.  If I write what I feel, it’s to reduce the fever of feeling.  What I confess is unimportant, because everything is unimportant.  I make landscapes out of what I feel.  I make holidays of my sensations.”

Fernardo Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)


No Secret

Pink Roses, Jen Mazza, 2010

Pink Roses, Jen Mazza, 2010

Someone once told me that every artist should have a secret body of work that they never show.

The paintings I am working on at the moment should perhaps be my “secret body of work”, only I can’t seem to make two bodies of work at the same time – I only can do what comes next.

At this moment I am thinking peonies come next, well, that is after I finish…

Still With Geranium from  The Grand Illusion 1937, Jean Renoir

…the geranium.  A small homage to Jean Renoir (I am also looking forward to seeing Rules of the Game again soon). Continue reading

Infra-ordinary and invariables


Tutte, oil on linen, from the Self Deceit series
Tutte, oil on linen, from the Self Deceit series


Infra-ordinary and invariables

“How can we speak of these “common things”, how rather, can we stalk them, how can we flush them out, rescue them from the mire in which they remain stuck, how can we give them a meaning, a tongue, so that they are at last able to speak of the way things are, the way we are?”
“My intention (is) to describe what remains: that which we generally don’t notice, which doesn’t call attention to itself, which is of no importance: what happens when nothing happens, what passes when nothing passes, except time, people, cars, and clouds.”

(Georges Perec: above “Approaches to what?”, below Perec quoted by  Gilbert Adair)

Lies

 

ernstvl11

The superior of the convent: “I saw myself in the form of a wolf. I sped through space with the rapidity of words.” Max Ernst

Painting and Lies

“A metaphor holds a truth and an untruth, felt as inextricably bound up with each other.” (Musil, The Man Without Qualities, p 634)

Is it as Nietzsche suggests that we delight in appearances – especially those with the lucidity of dreams?  Painting, its object-hood negligible is more or less pure appearance and obviously there is more than the passing comparison between painting and dreams.   The two are linked in their ability to compile disparate images, objects, spaces and seasons into a single cogent experience. Thus they make exist a space which is outside of any real experience, and while it certainly can directly reference life, it does at the same time contrive to demonstrate something beyond our experience – that larger truth.  And like truth in dreams, it is a certainty as the dream lasts but likely to fade on waking.  Though even then it leaves behind a trace of that former certainty, which though nebulous, makes it seem likely that if we point our mind at it we may yet recover its clarity.  Painting and dreams overlap in their ability to tell us not only convincing truths, but in their ability to tell us equally convincing lies.