In this drawing the artist is an icon/symbol among other icon/symbols, walking one direction where everyone else is walking the other. Is he a pariah, a drummer of the lowest caste or is he just hearing Thoreau’s drummer? Anyway, everyone else is both coupled and connected to the world at-large. They all walk arm-in-arm and are all talking to other others on their smart phones. He is alone in and behind his art.
The miracle of the sidewalk
It’s amazing that no one ever runs into anyone else. Everyone walks in close proximity to everyone else. They get where they want to go without collisions, without conscious thought.
Way back when my drawings were of icons; they were representations of what I thought I wanted from life. Then I started to put those icons in context, I made the images in and of the world. I also started to scale those images in images back; in this drawing you only see their backs
I’ve survived some walks and gotten old. Those drawings of me in the world, me here and icons there in the world, seem a tired image to keep drawing over and over again. If just drawing us was going to bring us together it surely would have done so by now, as my drawing is the best thing I’ve had to offer up in trade since I was a kid. I’m a better drawer now but other stuff to trade–mere youth; potential, energy, optimism–is all gone. The sum of it all is much less now and almost all just my art.
I like to draw more than just about anything I’m allowed to do. I’m sad and bitter, but I’m ok with that, as I can’t remember being anything else.
Is it the mere fact that we are old that allows earlier hopes and dreams to surface on their own, or have we, by our own recent efforts discovered some things we’ve forgotten? We remember the hopes, but also the rejections. We remember the couples and the connected who avoid us still without conscience effort
The art which has a palimpsest/pentimento of the artist as he was back then when he would dare to think his art would deserve a public response. It’s now showing through again. Is it a palimpsest or a pentimento?
Palimpsest and pentimento are two old words that kind of mean not quite the same thing. The word palimpsest refers to a manuscript parchment that has been reused where, after some time earlier writings on it begins to show through subsequent ones. Pentimenti are images that show through subsequent images on a painting.
The major difference between them is not that one is for words and the other is for pictures but that one, a palimpsest, happens on its own and the other a pentimento, must be discovered through conscious effort. So which is it, those pale marks on the artist’s canvas? Did you see them before you read this?
In Part-1 the woman on the left is an icon inside the icon Part-1 as a whole is. Her arm, in front of and also inside of the painting in the painting is as much an art as in the world. This changes in Part-2; she becomes all art and leaves the world of the coupled and connected. She loses her reality and she becomes a re-presentation inside a re-presentation. She re-presents her absence. The old artist settles for having all of and only her absence in the re-presentation he’s made. Otherwise he’s alone in and behind his art.
The artist has failed the Turing Test; he’s slipped his art under the door of his Chinese Room and gotten no answer back. Even when artist and the others are together out in the same world, they in their little black dresses and gray suits, the coupled and connected don’t believe he’s one of them.
There are no end of icons and sutras, of images of ideals and stele of commandments, of wraiths of the good sort and bad. No pictures get it all; no arrangements of words do either. And as they are added to the world, they add to its confusion as well as its self-understanding. But hopefully more of the latter than the former.