We had looked long enough in the too-bright noon to lose all track of shadow. What followed was pure color on crude surfaces, free of descriptive weight, the greens no longer grass but the breath of something wild. Unable to answer, we stood before it. Shining.
Overheard, near the studio.
Here, each feather is stripped into muslin, then draped over discarded wood, then set in an abandoned pocket of stone––And here, look. Someone might have let this go, dismissing it as a mere bicycle tire. Now it is something else.
What is it now?
Whatever you do, keep coming home. And I will keep singing for you. And when you get here, we can talk about these instruments that I keep finding in the garage, such as this mallet, which is delightfully resonant against that flimsy pot we were going to throw out, with the burn marks still on the bottom from the popcorn. I am blinding my way into some magic here and could use some help. Plus, what if I forget my name? I may need you to say it for me.
So now I am making you a song with this mallet-pot combination, and when you get here, the rolling pin is all yours. It will be good to see you and to hear you say what I mean to remember. And to sing.
maybe all you wanted at the start was to take
the perforated present
shot through with holes to carve it to make
the dappled light it held look like it meant all along
to be held like that maybe you only wanted
to test some strength against the coming loss not
necessarily yours maybe it was in the living fossils
among us, the beyonds they tended to point to
by being there where we were
where do you go in this now
but shh you tell me try not to look
like that meaning I think this gulping way
where you try to take it
o all of it at
A shell, a glance, the hush between them. Your pyrotechnic palette, flashbang bravado only masks the stillness as we enter. Once inside, we become the bare guts of ourselves, removed of all packaging, and no one moves in the aftermath, to take up arms again.
Inspired by the work of Sylvia Snowden with phrases from Joe Bradley’s interview with the artist.
From cloth to needled hand.
Stitch me a shield
against the moment
of my erasure,
thread a horse
to carry me over
the next pass.
My legs are tired
and I have lost
Inspired by the work of Zoë Buckman, whose solo exhibition, Tended, is now in New York.
Interview with the artists in the aftermath of a first attempt.
How do I describe the place where we were? Birds of paradise guard the fortresses, holding still. A hushed place except for the machines. Between each fortress, you must not make a loud sound or have too much of laughter in one place if the place is below the window of a fortress because the people inside tend toward nervous conclusions, such as attack. Now we know, but we weren’t trying to scare anyone––not personally, anyway.
We were together, our company, because of the times, and the way we wanted to do something with our fear. It was going to be an opera. The working title was For the Scorched Earth. It accompanied an installation piece as well as a huge dance floor. This part was important, and nothing that any of us could fit in any place we lived, so we jumped at the chance to stage the event in a place with a large yard. Or really, any yard.
The lead character is an ancient god of the lunar eclipse who has lost his way. The idea was to dance him back home. We were going to invite the whole community! The point was also healing. But now we know that some ideas are too big for a given space. They shut us down.
But there’s no doubt we’ll try again. Reason being, we already have costumes and once people see themselves in those, no one can resist a grand entrance. We even had them for all the neighbors, too! These gorgeous birds of paradise pieces, all satin and taffeta. They were going to be stunning in the light. The mistake was not handing them out sooner.
In retrospect, that was a miscalculation. We were having fun with the element of surprise. It seemed so apropos, given our theme! But not everything translates across cultures. So now we know. The next space will be much bigger.
She makes collage from the books of nudes but there is nothing reckless about her approach. She’s like a surgeon. Look. This one looks like a flower, and you think you are getting the obvious metaphor but then she calls it target and you look again and there it is. Bullseye.
I cut the way I was taught to use scissors, she says. Meaning gently, as with paper dolls. I do not tear the figures, she says. Ever. I do not rip, even when I would sometimes like to feel myself as someone who would. But it isn’t in me; I am too careful for that, she says. Instead, she holds and she studies, learning how to look. I follow the lines. I scoop them up, she says, of the nudes. To give them new meaning.
Inspired by the work of Justine Kurland.
What the body records, language reveals. In this painting, the dance looks back. Notice the anguished bliss of these blues, the tension of this tenderness strung taught across the entryway. Come in. In this light where you remember, you were there.
Rhythm Study is the title of a piece by artist Le’Andra LeSeur, whose work inspires this post.
The artist welcomed extremes in her work, so employed bacterial assistants. They see differently, she said. She said the bacteria were very helpful. They bring a new intelligence, she said.
Is that them? We wondered. But it was the slime mold, which had recently arrived to help with the next project.
What is that?
We’re doing an adaptation of The Book of Changes.
Adapted from this BOMB interview with Jenna Suelta, for whom collaboration with non-human intelligences is a central feature of artmaking. Pond Brain is the title of a 2023 sculpture she created with bronze, water, sound, and light.