The man who chased the sky


Apologies to Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin, 42 when photographed by Mildred Tolbert as Gabriel knocked on her door. 80 when photographed by Timothy Greenfield Sanders. The same furrowed brow, the same look of fear. Everyone is chosen and everyone knows it, wrote Agnes Martin.

New York; artifacts of 60’s Post Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Post Minimalism reminds of the objects associated with Neolithic and other early and recent, bricolage, pre-literate, oral cultures. Knotted string, braided hair, Lunar discs of mammoth tooth and hardware store washers, brass nails, terra cotta, fibre glass and fluorescent tubes with the marrow sucked out, desiccated and mummified latex, drips of wax; the relics of a culture entombed. 60s New York Art’s praxis; the eschewal of subjectivity. One eschewed of subjectivity has no need to make art.

1960s Art’s grids, stuck in the groove repetitions, Roget’s Thesaurus mantras, ink manufactured from canned super market food unlikely motifs and materials for ones eschewed of subjectivity. Rather they are the figures of OCD culture; entrapped by language, ensnared in schema and obsessional practices of endless anxiety suspending deferrals. Given the apprehension and

sufferings of non-transcendent, quotidian reality; 60s Arts’ utterances are symptoms of that which has no cure, subjectivity. The non subjective us of us before culture gets hold of us already shaped prior by nature’s subordinations of desire, power, violence, fear, hunger. Rather than eschewal there are moments though of release from such subjectivities, felt transitorily when wrapped in limitless, infinite space. Post Minimalist Eva Hesse’s drawings on graph paper reach towards spaces that go forever. Agnes Martin’s paintings do it too. Agnes Martin grew up on the endless Canadian Prairies of Saskatchewan. It was being there she pictured when painting in New York.

City Beach; gazing into the Indian Ocean; its flat, blue, featureless sky liberates. A momentary dissolution of self. The sky a canvas that can’t be touched, nor even imagined. Infinite space stills the chatter of the mind; the fullness of emptiness negates prospects of intervention. Then the next wave comes crashing down. How long can you hold your breath for? Nature is always hungry. Apologies to Agnes Martin.

Andrew Wyeth: A Self Portrait a Woman in a Pink Dress

the reproductions of paintings.
the art school movie screened a view of the earth over the wings of crows.
standing before Christina’s World, MOMA, New York, December,1975.
the Betsy James Wyeth text, Andrew Wyeth illustrations book Christina’s World, Arcane Bookshop, William Street purchase; even at a sale price something we couldn’t afford

last night, a re-read.
finishing waking this morning
the sad, lonely pictures of the Olsen’s
so many bleached bones colours
so many drawings of the skeletal wood framed house,
the dark, deep earth colours,
the flashes of blue

turning pages chronicle the slow passing of dying
unless hastened by circumstance.
Brother Alvaro dies Christmas Eve
Christina before the end of January.
dying starts long before last breaths are taken.
Christina’s World compelling regarding that.
pages 211 – 215 picture first studies.
the final painting:
the studies more convincing than the portrait.
Wyeth opens a door normally locked,
the bedroom door across the hall from Christina’s.
startled he sees a man.
a reflection through layers of years of dust settled on a mirror.
Wyeth titles the self portrait The Revenant.
the living corpse.


a street without trees.
an ocean without fish.
animals without a forest.
a river without water.
air too hot to breath.
governments that feed hunger not greed.
an Earth treated as sacred and not as a super market.
i can imagine;
a street without trees.
an ocean without fish
animals without a forest.
rivers without water.
air too hot to breath.

Bob Dylan on Drawing

(By Bob Dylan and Arno Blax)

I would start with whatever was at hand
The typewriter, Tap Tap Tap
A rose ???
Knives stab stab stab
Pins Pin Pin Pin Pin Ouch!
Empty cigarette boxes –Gitanes – GAULOISES – Greenwich Village / the left Bank / and when I see a sign that points one way


 … musing around with a triptych.
a red cross becomes a horizon
and the heavenly becomes earthly.
I have been reading about Mark Rothko;
his ideas about art and the triptych’s title is for him.


His birth place.

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