Tag Archives: Thoughts


Giorgio Morandi

Giorgio Morandi


The objects in Morandi’s studio seen in photographs taken recently, appear to remain as constants though the moment and the man have passed.  Morandi’s switch from the clean opacity of Surrealism to his subsequent translucent and illusive impressions speaks to me about the inconstancy of time and ones own changing sense of it.  Surrealism requires us to invest faith in the solidity of a world that does not exist, it is an imagined world, a painted world, a mimetic world.

Morandi’s later works emphasize through fluctuating edge and transparency the quiver of mortality in the face of the infinite. In these works solid objects are made less so; but caught are the perennial, seasonal and daily shifts of light and shadow which are near to infinite compared to the limited moments of a single perception.  The light flickers and bends over the forms like players moving across a stage, where now only the props remain – the props and their painted echoes that mourn the moment in spite of the promise of the infinite.









Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon, Man in Blue
Francis Bacon, Man in Blue

Francis Bacon at the Met

Hockney says time and space can’t exist well together in the same 2D surface – how does that relate to Francis Bacon’s works?  Does Bacon’s flattening-out equal the inclusion of time as a formal element?  Or is time merely implied conceptually through the literal device of multiplication or blurring in order to create the visual continuum of a moving or writhing figure.  How to decipher that – when familiarity dampens the impact, when sight is confused by the shifting apparitions of museum-goers reflected in the glass? Continue reading

Francis Bacon, Proust and Painting

Bacon, Three Studies for the Base of a Crucifiction

“Nothing touches me, nothing interests me, except what directs itself directly to my flesh” (Artaud, Art and Death)

“this unusable body made out of meat and crazy sperm”
(Artaud, Here Lies)

The rain comes straight down, a curtain of rain outside the window.  A city full of windows and so many contained, fleshy warm and bodied, behind each glass.  Each room a box: window-paned, rain-curtained, enclosing its warm human fruit in degrees of ripeness or decay. Continue reading

Ensor on a Rainy Sunday

The Dejected Lady

The Dejected Lady, James Ensor

Ensor on a Rainy Sunday

Outside it rains – with eyes attuned to greys I see the Ensor paintings at MOMA more clearly. And I think that Ostend must be a city of fogs for Ensor to know so well what colors would sing on a day such as today. What is interesting is what stops the light and what the light passes through. The light wraps around and dissolves its objects. Glasses, candlesticks, are as if removed, diminished by that which illuminates or eclipsed by those things deemed solid.

‘A Woman in Distress’, her disheveled form seems to displace the bedding she lays upon, as a weight would in a woolen bath the bedclothes spilling over the edge of the ornate wooden bed. In many of the early pictures, tablecloths, bedding, furniture – all seem to dissolve into the dark air and into the walls and the carpets so that all becomes waves of shifting patterns.

The light is at once solid and diffuse, and refers back to the hard geometry of the window panes whose glare at first blinds us – as it would if we entered such a space from another room more illuminated than this shady parlor. Slowly our eyes adjust and the shapes and forms diversify in the gloom. We see at first only what the light glances over and then at last we glean those persons and objects which Ensor obscures in shadow.

The light erases. The shadow devours. And yet by choosing our focus the eyes adjust and forms spill out from the gloom that the lamp licks over. The impartial daylight pricks the edges nearest the glass but is quickly extinguished in the plush and cluttered interiors – like noise is hushed in a padded room. The room absorbs what little light the day leaves into a sumptuous dark and velvet palette – green, grey and vermillion glow – grey becoming almost blue in the halflight, vermillion which is unlikely a true red and more likely brown but has such fire in the comparative dark, green – emerald which has its own heat. “On such a day one would need to be of solid emerald or ruby to burn with any flame and not merely dissolve in grey atoms in the universal grey,” as Virginia Woolf said on another such rainy day. Continue reading





Today the iris on the windowsill bloomed
White and violet and the petals
Shriveling back toward green daggers
as the sun reflects a second dawn from the windows across the street
A trip to the Ironbound,
Oranges lined up on the counter
small to large, each scrawled with text
Honey tangerine
Small navel
Larger navel
What is what
8 for a dollar
By the pound
The olive oil is dusted with a fine confection of salt
Half a papaya
The sparrows swim through the rafters
A dozen eggs
Whipped to a meringue
Bruises like thumbprints
No bigger than violets
What woman would not,
Like a cake of flexible fondant,
Look sublime in a dress of white satin meringue?
That liquid pearl drooling over the copper of her skin
2 dozen eggs, yolk in palm
And a date with a sweet tooth

Rabbit Ole’



Here is dinner
In valentine hues:
Red wine
White beans
Pink Bunny
And I am listening to Xanadu
Electric Light Orchestra
Olivia Newton...
There is a primrose on the table:
Pink edging on magenta
Yellow centered
And leaves greengreengreen.

Eyre and Electricity

Eyre and electricity

West House


Today I could see my breath inside as well as out. The power back on I huddle waiting for warmth. The sink is frozen, the still life is frozen, the air is sharp, my fingers numb starting at the pinky working in. so much for a willed productive morning. I will be productive watching to see if the pipes are burst as they thaw. I am walled in on the east, almost a cave, ice stalactites, like glass minarets turned over. Something tracheal about them with each diminishing ring.

I open the woodstove and stuff it full. I would hope this would make it warmer faster. I remember cold mornings at home. Not wanting to get out of bed. How long, once started, the fire took to spread heat past the cast iron. I should do as I did then. I should forsake this cold desk, glove my cold hands and curl by the woodstove.


Hard to imagine time is so short now. I have only just begun a ritual. I awake in east house. The sun catching my eyes from between the pines at dawn, barely rousing me in its sheath of ice. Then to breakfast and to the studio. There I stay until the light begins to pass. I go then to west house, (which is the last to catch the light) with its golden velvet upholstery, dark wood, red rugs and diamond paned windows.

Today I have lost the sun already, somewhere between morning and afternoon. There is no sun to set on west house today. Outside everything is a monochrome of blue. The snow breaks the even geometries of the architecture. The trees balance a white plume on each upturned arm.

Everything is so very still, so very quiet. There is a completeness in all this stillness – a contemplative world without need or desire. Wind and desire move things, create urgencies. They rattle the windows, shake the snow from the trees, press the cold through cloth to bare skin. But here I rest in this remarkable stillness.


Bejeweled pomegranates, splitting open in each festoon. They are like the heads of saints in the Fra Angelicos. Bare round monk’s heads, like apples. Each cloven with the axe of their martyrdom.


Buddha’s Hands are lemons stuffed full of fingers.


Another resident dilly dallies in the kitchen. I scare him off with the shriek of the kettle I am late in attending to. I read Jane Eyre on the golden sofa.


The esophogeal ribbing of the icicles, each day growing longer. as if the sky were taking root: extending its curtain of snow over each roof and reaching groundward. Soon we will be incased in a wall of ice.



Orion will serve to mark this month, this place. As Arcturus marked Millay and August, as day ended it hung over the barn, the studio, in the west. Here, each night I return after dinner to see the X of Orion overhead in the swath of sky that is framed on the east by the pines and on the west by the roof of the studio. I find the tiny cluster, the wee dipper of the Pleides, then retreat into the warmth