Twelve years ago today a man died in my arms. died convulsing away from my shaking arms while I called for him to stay and called for help, and while helping so long, went with him calling not anymore to stay, but to be at peace, and was taken for a tour in the brackish outer atmosphere of life, where looms death of the individual, taunting the living with images of long dark robes and fleshless bone, when in fact the dimension was lovely and unrecountably fresh. I was visited and shown for three turns over three days, returned from the funeral, which I orchestrated, and ran with all my resources including a limo driving cousin, and recommendations of funeral homes. I was spiritually pried open, partly dis-integrated, yet still located in the body, still writing and braving the chilly early spring air on the porch back in Virginia in the days following. I have always been open to the dead, shall I put that as well into the artspace? and this time it opened to me.
I know we want to go like Dickens through all three episodes, and about the conversations, it was a three-day sit, a three day presence with a tour each evening. I was alone with my dogs on my Virginia place, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, 4 acres that I scrounged from ceramic art. and S had been helping me at the American Craft Council wholesale show in Baltimore, when his surprise fatal heart attack arrived twelve years ago today, during the tremendous snowstorm that caused the ambulance to take 13 minutes too long, since it was determined later that no amount of CPR could have addressed what happened inside the White Castle sack that surrounded his heart.
It is like a weaving, this looming death. There are whole stories to be written about the mud on the shoes of his relatives, and about how I came to be regarded as the lost queen of a small cult in Louisville when I was lead in the first death meditation to contact the chef who had worked the grill at S’s coffee house for years, contact him with a goodbye and a peacemaking from S through me, and I did, i made an appointment at his restaurant, and told him what it seemed there was to say, and it turned out he was in some sort of new age group that regarded my actions as worthy of worship, when lordy mercy, I am just trying to stay tuned in to spirit, which for me means giving up what it makes me look like, and following my (now here I have to name it something, say…) Higher Power.
There is much to tell the page about the tours, the visions of ink dissolving in water and the visited dreams, the nearly impossible little happenings, objects and items being in unexplained places, and dreams to fill the white screen, to write with electricity, metal, and plastic.
When I’ve come to the studio today to know the work, to sort the materials, sketch for the iteration I’ll be showing 2 weeks from today. Lay out the specific questions this installation will be asking,
Experiments with light – showing different types of cast images and effects. Are they inquiry driven – yes. are they decorative – no.
Ex-per-i-ments that install quickity quick and in a surprising way into the site architecture, discrete and interrelating sculptural demonstrations of light and optics. moving the body through the pieces. the neodymiums and the thread-thin wire. And reams of black foil. Reams of it. and as I ask I am shown in weighty, flickering, Potemkin images, how the glass is installed into the sheets on site and the electrical wire is pre-measured.
I wish myself well-slept and already in the studio, on the second cup of thermos coffee.
I have to tell you something. Lean close.
I had sealed off from the writing lately.
For the first time since ever, the shampoo was not on my mind, I was not pressing toward it all the time, centering toward the writing. the shamopoo being an exercise in disposal (shamopoo, Dick says, more shampoo) And so, this is why you’re leaning. it’s about reflection. the best circumstances are impossible exercises in letting go of reflection, like pulling burrs off summer hiking socks. even the easiest way to communicate, in the form of writing to the ostensible self, doesn’t work very well, instead painting a flat smudge for palaces of gold, man, palaces of gold.