The Proximity of Matter

With Cynthia Hawkins.

pattern texture leaf green

Changing spaces between us, we kept looking. 

Form. Color. Line. Body, body, us.

We were skeptical when you confessed.

My practice is abstraction, you said.

We thought you should not say that out loud.

But you persisted. Draw a tree long enough,

you said, it will evolve. Until what you have

are lines, white space, and the pulse of intersections.

The point was not less tree, but more.

Not the sum of its parts, but something beyond.

In the beginning, you think it’s about figures.

But stay with it, and you see. What matters

is movement. What matters is direction.

What matters is space.

We wondered which space. 

Between the canvas and the eye, you said,

where they float

We wondered which they.


Inspired by (and using borrowed phrases from) this interview with Cynthia Hawkins. The title comes from one of Hawkins’ series.

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I keep watch and listen, mostly in dark places.

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