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Exchange of Values

Exchange of Values
acrylic on board 48'X96'

"Structure of Color Perception"

"Structure of Color Perception"
48'X96' acrylic on board

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I think I am still a little stunned about Eastwood’s performance at the republican convention.

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me.” 
Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man."

I forgive Clint Eastwood, thought it’s not really my place to do so.  I forgive Clint only because I need forgiveness myself.  For too many republicans (and some democrats too) president Obama has always been the “Invisible Man,” that is, Obama has not been seen for who he or what he has actually done, but rather what has been envisioned and engaged has been a phantasmagoric projection of white america’s distorted fears, prejudices, and hate.  Eastwood’s pantomime with his ‘invisible man’ demonstrated the pathology of Obama’s enemies more than any burning cross could, because virtually everyone would condemn a white-hooded Klansman ranting about the “master race,” but it’s harder (especially for this white privileged man) to be angry at a mentally crippled old man, to condemn an old fool talking to an empty chair and yelling “You’re crazy, you’re absolutely crazy” at his own illusion; and then watching a coliseum full of privileged white ‘christians’ applaud and cheer.  But hasn’t most of the republican convention been merely a variation of Eastwood’s performance, even when the producers supplied more articulate ‘ethnic’ props for the stage?            

After watching most of this convention I guess I can agree with what the narrator later says in Ellisons “Invisible Man,”  “The world is just as concrete, ornery, vile, and sublimely wonderful as before, only now I better understand my relation to it and it to me.”   But the more I understand the more ashamed and in need of forgiveness I am.  obliged    

Sunday, August 5, 2012

This is my very talented daughter Amber and me (is she the next Emmylou?).  We are singing “Prayer in Open D” at my birthday party, it was a real gift to have her sing it with me (sorry I don’t have audio).  Thanks to all my friends who showed up it was a great party.  We ate Mulanchani, whiskey marinaded pork roast, fresh Frazier river sockeye in white wine and butter sauce from my old fishing buddy Rich, some great fresh garden salads including italian potato salad, oh, and of course baked ziti and pesto pasta.  Some days are just great blessings, days to bank against different days...days of shadows, sorrow, and thunder.  But not this day, this day was a day of abundance, great friendship, love, and joy.  Obliged.

Prayer in Open D

There's a valley of sorrow in my soul
Where every night I hear the thunder roll
Like the sound of a distant gun
Over all the damage I have done
And the shadows filling up this land
Aew the ones I built with my own hand
There is no comfort from the cold
Of this valley of sorrow in my soul
There's a river of darkness in my blood
And thru every vein I feel the flood
There is no bridge for me to cross
No way to bring back what is lost
Into the night it soon will sweep
Down where all my grievances I keep
But it won't won't wash away the  years
Or one single hard and bitter tear
And the rock of ages I have known
Is a weariness down in the bone
I use to ride it like a rolling stone
Now I just carry it alone
There's a highway risin from my dreams
Deep in the heart I know it gleams
For I have seen it stretching wide
Clear across to the other side
Beyond the river and the flood
And the valley where for so long I've stood
With the rock  of ages in my bones
Someday I know it will lead me home.


Oh, and my good friend and photographer Joan Davison took pictures of some of my older paintings on/for my birthday.  This one is my response to all the “Inventions of Eves.”

In this painting I tried to  engage the  2 (apparently) contradictory creation narratives in Genesis.  In the first one in Genesis 1. man and women are created simultaneously after the garden of Eden is already populated with all the animals.  In Genesis 2 man is created first and finds himself lonely after all the animals are not suitable companions, and then Eve is subsidiarily created last.  The Rabbis have speculated in the Talmud and elsewhere that Adam’s first wife, the first “Eve,” was actually Lilith.  Lilith usually doesn’t fare well in the bible and most mythological speculations, often described as the leader of the Lillu, hordes of female demons, etc..  Other narratives are more ambiguous like this verse in Isaiah 34:14:  “The wild cat shall meet with the jackals, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow, yea, Lilith shall repose there and find her a place of rest.”  I also hope that this functions as a bit of a parody on one panel of the Sistine chapel, which I have re-appropriated here to suit my intentions.  Incidentally, those are actual leaves I collected along the Seine in Paris about the same spot where one of my favorite poets, Paul Celan, killed himself.  I pressed them, and repainted them and then glued them onto the canvas. I always intended to use them in a painting for him.  I have many leaves left though, and I promise brother Paul to paint something for you.  Let me offer one of Celan’s poems: since I mentioned him:

Paul Celan - Tenebrae

We are near, Lord,
near and at hand.

Handled already, Lord,
clawed and clawing as though
the body of each of us were
your body, Lord.

Pray, Lord,
pray to us,
we are near.

Wind-awry we went there,
went there to bend
over hollow and ditch.

To be watered we went there, Lord.

It was blood, it was
what you shed, Lord.

It gleamed.

It cast your image into our eyes, Lord.
Our eyes and our mouths are open and empty, Lord.

We have drunk, Lord.
The blood and the image that was in the blood, Lord.

Pray, Lord.
We are near.

Blessings and obliged.