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Ann Drysdale 10-29-2016 02:47 AM

Sharon, that last post was a placeholder while I tried to do a crit of the picture as a poem, as I promised I would and I'm getting desperate. The poem was a mixture of what I felt and what I knew, not a collage but a cakemix, fork-twiddled to a dropping consistency and baked in my own head-oven. It is not a "critique" of picture, artist or model. It is a poem, which is a thing I think I can do. There is an element of me in it, like a secret spice or a particular wrist-action.

If I flex my muscles on the easiest of the three pictures, I find it slightly offensive because tears only come out of that bit of eyes when they are driven by one of those gizmos that clowns use, to make a huge and obvious boo-hoo: "Look at me, poor Tramp, Auguste has made me cry". Nonetheless, I think that if the three were sold as prints in a high street shop, that picture would outsell the others. Saying that says more about me than the art, though, and I feel helplessly out of my depth.

But at some point I need to move away from the picture I know and love and relate to, past the one that makes me feel hatefully superior onto the one that I am supposed to be addressing.

I am trying, I really am. I feel as if I am looking at one of those vertical blinds, through which I am being asked to peer and before I can push it aside and look at the bit that interests me, I need to draw it together to see what's on it. A sort of popular paisley, pastel, Barbie, princess, peacock. I know I couldn't live with it and would need to shove it further aside so as to better see the real "beyond" of it, like taking a glass of wine up to the top of my garden so as to look over the house to see the lights on the other side of the valley.

And I realise that I'm doing that with the art in my life, moving aside the Keane to see the Picasso, so to speak. And in Night and Day the strings of bubble-beads that link the two are the mystery that I need to solve before I can make any meaningful critique of the art either as picture or poem. (I restructured that sentence to avoid using "critique" as a verb. I am a pedant.)

Trying to (write it) critique Night and Day in terms of either discipline just revels to me the appalling subjectivity of my vision and the lack of academic spectacles through which to look beyond it.

I will try to do better, but I wanted you to know I'm on the case.

Sharon Passmore 10-29-2016 11:05 AM

Ann, I love your poem. I have re-read it several times since you posted. I get a very different take on the painting, though. I don't see Picasso beating and braking the woman I see him understanding the woman. Either way, he manages to go deeper into her emotion than simple tears. That's why his painting "shows" and the Keane simply "tells".

This could be a good starting point for comparing visual art and poetry. I think this will be a fun exercise for "Drills & Amusements". Let's do it there.

I love your quilting references and I was going to respond with fabric swatches a person might have used to quilt the Picasso, but Erato wouldn't let me post more than 5 images in a single post and I got lazy and moved on.

Having read your last post three times, I am still not sure if you think my piece looks like vertical blinds. It does, doesn't it? *giggling here* Earlier, Woody commented about the sideways direction of the tree. I don't know if these things bother me or not. Cesar Cruz said “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” Something that makes people want to turn it or spread blinds open might be a good thing. It's a response. Too comfortable is boring.

Here are two different versions of this piece. One I simply flipped sideways after reading these comments. One was how the piece looked before the final filters were applied.


I think I am liking day from one and night from the other.

Ann Drysdale 10-31-2016 06:27 AM

Hmm. The trouble is, the Picasso only"shows" you whatever it is you see when you look at it. That sounds trite but it's exactly what I want to convey. When I was talking about breaking and beating and black and blue, I was talking about the painting, the fragmenting of the image, the use of black and blue to make an image of the "suffering machine" (those are his words and I've put them in Dora's voice, explaining rather than complaining).

I "saw" an artist using his art to make a painting, not a statement as such. By moving the thoughts he suggested, to me, in paint, to words that, for me, replicate them, I am making art from art, as Dora's photos did. Even her famous Père Ubu riffs off Jarry's play as my poem did off her face.

But it's not "critique" as such. I am going to have to admit to failing to be able to criticise your picture as if it were a poem. Because it isn't. I have had several tries and all ended (once, literally) in tears. I can't see rhymes with my eyes, unless they are word eye-rhymes. Although I can see your music I can't re-create it in words that don't sound like a smart-arse, self-serving "this is me, saying what I see" and who in hell cares what it is that I see when it can only come across as a representation of what I hear. I can't move far enough back to create a real, generous critique. You and Picasso and Vermeer can show and show, but, in response, I can only tell.

I'm trying to explain; when I look at something, I can't "see" it until I tell myself what it is I'm looking at and the words I use to describe it turn into a subjective "reality"; like my comment about looking through the blind - which you found alarming, albeit giggle-inducing.

I can't make any sense of it in poetic (critical) terms because it's a different art, and I am not even disappointed with my attemps to "criticise" it; I am horrified and ashamed.

When we collaborated before, we (well, Pat and I) took ideas from your work and made our own art. I can do that. I will.

(I'll return to our private correspondence to help work out a challenge for D&A)

Sharon Passmore 11-01-2016 11:34 AM

Goodness, Ann, don't be horrified and ashamed! This is supposed to be fun. It's not worth tears! - unless, of course, a person is deeply moved to tears by my artistic genius and profound meaning, then tears are OK. :p

This is supposed to expand horizons. For example, now I need to do some research and find out who Dora is (the model in the painting, I assume) and who Père Ubu and Jarry are. It is I who should be ashamed.

You said "...the Picasso only"shows" you whatever it is you see when you look at it. That sounds trite..."
No! It doesn't sound trite at all. That is the entire basis for all "conceptual art", the idea that the art occurs in the viewer's mind and is partly comprised of thoughts and meanings the viewer has in place already. It's the idea that the physical piece of art is simply a catalyst and not the final piece. In that way, a piece of art is different every time it's viewed. I'm not saying Picasso was a conceptual artist. I think some purely conceptual art can get ridiculous. The benefit of the movement is the awareness that all art has a conceptual element - poetry too, I suspect.

In Night and Day we have a tree and a city street. Each viewer brings their own feelings into play. Maybe someone fell from a tree as a child and broke their leg. The sideways orientation of the tree might give them a disturbing feeling while someone who carves handmade canoes might feel an entirely different way.

Someone who drives one of those tourist carriages in a city would react differently to the night scene than someone who is an avid environmentalist and works in urban planning, right? As an artist, I have very little control over what happens after it leaves my hand.

In the Picasso, you were tapping into how it was made, the action of it being painted. Quilting popped into your head. That's very cool. That is a perfectly valid response. I love your poem.

One thing that went through my head was the handkerchief being up to her face and her mouth still being visible. In reality, you wouldn't be able to see both at once, so I was noticing the woman's action. I thought about her wiping her face repeatedly. I thought about how the hankie is so sharp and pointed right at her eyes. (Which also wouldn't be reality - it would be soggy) That's valid too. Both the artist and the model were in motion. We both saw the violence but in different ways.

Just being aware of this conceptual aspect of art makes me feel it was the right decision to turn the tree in Night and Day, to prevent any Christmas tree garland implications.

In these two masterpieces of art, "The Weeping Woman" and "Night & Day" :p I would say "rhyme" occurs...

Between the woman's eyebrows & eyelashes and the stitching on her jacket
Between the edging on her handkerchief and the quilting on her jacket
Between all the triangles and especially the leaves on her hat and the far left wallpaper
Between the handkerchief and the eyelid area
Between her green fingers and her ear - also a tear and her earring

Between the light strings and the branches, especially the shadows of branches on branches
Between the small streetlights and the areas between the smallest branches

I'm looking forward to working on that D&A challenge with you.

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