Today, a glimpse out the office window alternates between rainfall and sunshine, a black hearse drives slowly by and somewhere the ocean changes color…
Untitled (Bolsena), 1969
House paint, oil, crayon and pencil on canvas
78 x 98-1/2 inches (198.1 x 250.2 cm)
Some notes on coordinate systems as a way towards a description:
“We might say that there are two sections through the substance of the world: the longitudinal section of painting and the cross-section of certain pieces of graphic art. The longitudinal section seems representational; it somehow contains the objects. The cross-section seems symbolic; it contains signs. Or is it only when we read that we place the page horizontally before us? And is there such a thing as an original vertical position for writing – say, for engraving in stone? ” Walter Benjamin (c. 1920) p. 8 – notes from Marus Bullock and Michael W. Jennings (eds.) Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Vol. 1, 1913-1926, Harvard, MA, 1996.
I’ve been looking closely at some of Cy Twombly’s works in the book “Cycles and Seasons”. The passage quoted above resonated with me as I was looking at the reproductions of the Bolsena Paintings by Cy Twombly and reading the accompanying essay by Nicholas Cullinan. One of a series painted in 1969, the Bolsena series it is said records the events of 1969 that may have been on Twombly’s mind – the event of the decade perhaps as NASA’s Apollo 11 space mission unfolded before a collective world audience. It’s an interesting consideration and connection of current events of that time influencing perhaps and recorded in Twombly’s own cryptic cypher of graphic marks and painterly splots. What a hopeful time and sense of exploration!
NASA’s Terra satellite captured a visible satellite image of the Gulf oil spill on May 17 at 16:40 UTC (12:40 p.m. EDT) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer Instrument on-board. The oil slick appears as a dull gray on the water’s surface and stretches south from the Mississippi Delta with what looks like a tail. Text Credit: NASA Goddard / Rob Gutro
I’ve been thinking about this in the context of our own current events unfolding, as reports and images trickle in on the growing disaster of the oil spill in the gulf. NASA Satellite images show the extent of the slick as is disperses – but it is too soon to know the toll and we somehow still are unsure of how to stop the bleeding. How far we have come in the last 40+ years.
Bergbauer’s project – Studies after Nature” has been on my mind off and on for quite a while now. In Bergbauer’s work – the “final” images are constructed out of an archive of objects – specifcally found objects (rocks) – from the roadside according to the artist statement. The “studies” of the archive are arranged in various patterns of which I’m unsure of (or if) there may be an underlying organizing structure – outside of an aesthetic judgement and arrangement although the constructions do appear to be bound to a sense of gravity. None the less the resulting constructions are I think quite beautiful – but also quite artificial – and deliberate – full of patterns hinting at structural issues – yet not really resolving them in my opinion. I’m also quite amazed (although admittedly it looks too laborious) at the amount of apparent work done to “catalogue” all of the pieces which are incorporated in to the final studies…
Untitled (basalt – East Central Oregon) 2009 – Matt Niebuhr
On my own road trip this summer, I came across a section of land by the roadside in East Central Oregon, that I have one image thus far that gets me very excited to explore further but with a different approach.
What I’m intrigued by is natural dazzle of that which can be found out in the world (by anyone) as determined by the forces of nature – just by looking carefully or deliberately. This is a theme that I am beginning to be able to discern as a thread in a number of photo studies I’m working. Here, the fractures of basalt arranged according to natural laws – the horizontal fissures describing the shifting forces inside the earth – reminders that the solid ground beneath is not still. I’ve collected a few shards of basalt and the shapes that are revealed in these shards amaze me. I’m looking forward to trying to document these shards in a meaningful way. And then, I’m really looking forward to the next road trip back to eastern Oregon.