Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Another Relevant Quote

This one is a double quote, from the same New Yorker, article by Larissa MacFarquhar, about Derek Parfit.

In it, she quotes a different philosopher's (Bernard Williams) favorite poem, "the last stanza of Matthew Arnold's poem "Dover Beach" summed up his view of things".

Ah, Love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for

Me too.

Relevant Quote

From the latest (9/5/11) New Yorker, from an article by Ian Frazier about Theo Jansen.

"At the end of my working day, I am almost always depressed. Mine is not a straight path like an engineer's, it's not A to B. I make a very curly road just by the restrictions of goals and materials. A real engineer would probably solve the problem differently ...But the solutions of engineers are often much alike, because human brains are much alike. Everything we think can in principle be thought of by someone else. The real ideas, as evolution shows, come about by chance. Reality is very creative."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hold This Thought

Something for the next round of small relief figures - the anti-aircraft laz-z-boy

If not that, than something like this...

Both of which can be found on a photoessay of DIY Libyan rebel armaments here. Worth checking out, particularly if you were a 10 yr. old boy when Mad Max came out, and that particular post-apocalyptic vision still resonates with you.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Good pics

In anticipation of delivering "Self Portrait..." next week, I finally took a moment to get some good pictures.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit

Apparently, I really like to sculpt rabbits. I'm not posting any images, because either I'm delusional or the lighting's bad, or I'm just getting self conscious, but all my recent pictures look like shit. You'll have to take my word for it; the rabbit kicks ass.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Too Big, God Damn It, Too Big

Got a late start in the studio this afternoon (afternoon!). I had the kids all the morning, and couldn't get in until after lunch.

For my birthday, my wife gave me some solitary studio time, so I spent all last weekend in the studio, while my (sick) wife took the kids down to visit their grandparents in Baltimore. Given this rare, uninterrupted opportunity, I pushed hard to bring this smaller piece close to resolution. Practically speaking, that meant spending a lot of time trying to make a convincing portrait of a thicket.

This thicket is going to work as a kind of screen inside a frame, with a rabbit hiding at the bottom, and arrows protruding from the upper right side. An ambiguous brer rabbit, maybe. The rabbit and the arrows are obviously going to be the focus of the piece, but it's important to get the branches right, too. First of all, I wanted them to look truly round - not flat planes intertwined, like Celtic knot work. Second, even though they are necessarily stylized (positive/negative space issues, only one plane to work with), I wanted them to have the irregular character of real branches. They needed to swell, and bend, and break off in unanticipated directions, just like the real deal. I did not want arboreal cartoon; I wanted a portrait of trees.

That said, it's terribly boring work, making branches, and I was more than a little burned out when I went this afternoon, and that's why I was apparently overeager to get started on something more rewarding, like the rabbit. Even before I got started, I predicted the outcome to my able assistant, James. This is a bad idea, I said, as I poured out liquid Castilene. I will pay for this later, I said, as I started to eyeball the proportions. This is is a mistake, I said, as I spent the next two hours fooling with subtleties of rabbit anatomy. And I was right.

Too fucking big. Not by a lot. Maybe 25%. But since there's NO SCALE TOOL in sculpture, if it's too big, it's too big. Start over.

So I did. In the hour or two I had left before I needed to get dinner started, and the kids moving through the usual slow-motion bedtime ballet, I started again. And now, because I was behind, I eyeballed it. Again. But this time I eyeballed it a lot more carefully, and it's working better. Although now, as I look at it, the change doesn't look that dramatic. Still, I think it's better, and there's a lot of room left in the modeling to move thing around.

All in all though, I'm excited. It doesn't photograph for shit, but in person it's looking very cool, and I can't wait to see whether my idea to cast the branches and leave the background is going to work. Plus, I've got an interesting idea for color, and a title - "You And Your Romantic Notions" - which I think fits. Let's see what happens tomorrow.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Great Article By Michael Kimmelman in the Times

There's not one word of this that doesn't feel true to me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where Did I Come From?

Back from a lovely vacation in Maine. About 6 posts behind, but working hard.

Here's an easy one. Staying at my parents house, I took a few pictures of some of the objects and images that I grew up with. Hard to imagine it's a coincidence...

This last one is particularly striking, given the figure I'm working on now.

The subconscious memory is an amazing thing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Alexander McQueen

Along with the rest of the world, we went to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met last Thursday.

The lines were absurdly long, the space was impossibly crowded, and it was still totally worth it.

I'm embarrassed to say I knew almost nothing about McQueen's work going in, so while I had been told by a number of people that it was a great show, and had seen a few postcards that mother had, I was totally unprepared for what was in store.

To me, this exhibition was a master class in form and material. Mr. McQueen's clearly possessed a tremendous material intelligence, which he managed to combine with quicksilver creativity, visual rigor, technical grace, and a consistent vision. The overall vision was, I thought, quite severe, but it was distinctly feminine severity. Over and over, soft lines exploded out of hard form, or vice versa. It was the best of everything I hope for in sculpture. Well done, Mr. McQueen, wherever you are.