Saturday, October 16

Feeling Butterflies Again

I took a short walk through the Portland Art Museum the other night. Just enough time to make some notes for a longer visit. I was stunned by the Mark Grotjahn installation. I usually have a hard time relating to work dominated by hard-edged, geometric forms. I like what a friend calls, "a way in" or some sort of broken spot (this is actually a point in my own work that I consciously see lacking).

Weibes Kleid Martina Sauter 2010 (via Ambach and Rice)
Stuhl Und Sessel Martina Sauter 2010
But these have it: as you walk closer, those large black shapes become made up of smaller shapes and marks. A natural noise of colored marks are around and outside those giant abstract butterfly wings. They appear almost hurriedly rubbed. As you step back and you begin to read the larger scale again, these images become tied to a representational sort of emotion. Poetic. The video above, courtesy of the Gagosian, shows some of this.

And these kind of noisy marks dwarfed in scale by the abstract, black, wings are like marks I am also trying to play with. Those marks in Grotjahn's pieces are contained within the larger fog of smudges and movement becoming a general tone. It's always exciting to see something your thinking about reflected in a completely different kind of work. Perhaps a piece of art you wouldn't even have ordinarily enjoyed. And even better, is if that work is doing it even better somehow - teaching you something.

From the book of Cy Twombly Photographs 1951-2007 (via Rare Autumn)
Semi-Related: Via Another Bouncing Ball, Regina Hackett links to some beautiful re appropriated photographs of Martina Sauter. Read her press release. These images change the original meanings of the used photographs - but what I like most, is how they also change the meaning of the surface texture of walls, furniture and film texture. They remind me of Cy Twombly's photographs (which I only have seen through this awesome book). I've always enjoyed the way they exist as something documented and yet with a new life of their own - the camera adding it's own emotional texture.

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