Blue and Green
should never be seen
except with something in between
Her body, her thorax, gashed through with ultramarine blue, luminescent as her flesh ebbed into the green oxide. Strange slight demarcation between body and space, bodies echoing in space around, odd flesh traceries, screaming into colour, light vibration, possibility, no, impossible strangeness.... Maybe only a painter can know what the pigments mean: ultramarine blue – is sapphire, transparent, light moves through it. Diluted it is air, space, perpetual light, but pure. It has to be, because the slightest touch of any other colour – except carmine perhaps – muddies it. Against yellow ochre it recedes back into darkness, deep velvety shadows that you can’t help but want to enter, to plunge your hand into, to stroke with your eye. Green oxide is getting harder to find – so is increasingly a synthetic substitute. It’s a funny colour. Based on copper oxide, its a cheap heavy mineral pigment, and sits opaque against the luminous blue but it’s not as mucky as ‘sap green’ or heavy as viridian which bores like a hole through the canvas – or diluted – sits on top, squatting like a large frog. And neither pigments are like the phthalocyanide blues or greens – heavy unwieldy big pigments – which stomp all over everything around. On her figure it reminded me of a skin, partly flayed – but not in a painful way – more as something opening up to the world around – and the blue furrows – mimicking cicatrices met my eyes like those of a lover.
Dunno why it is that My Favourite Consort Cure has this effect on me, but her company seems to evoke my own intense embodied connection with paint, with space, with flesh. After a weekend wandering with two dear friends through crazy bushland, grey rocks, that mad dark blue of midwinter sunshine, watching their eyes change from blue, to grey to green, watching them dilate with pleasure, ring with fatigue, well with tears, crinkle with laughter as we frolicked and flirted and fucked and muttered every type of madness under the sun and dredged strange things from the darkness, I was and am impossibly, delighted, ecstatic, comforted; with them, with me, with my life, with the world, with colour and sense and smell.
I was still flying high doing my last interview for THE TOME, with an eminent aussie painter™and inspired, ecstatic, delighted, stimulated by all measure. He said he'd been painting the same thing for 60 years. Trying to paint – not so much bodies but how they, and we emerge from and merge into space and light – how land and space permeate us, enter into us. How in painting we eat our world and disssolve into it. He said he’d done the work in London which he found mind blowing but impossible to paint. He had to imagine he was somewhere else than where he was at that time. London. Mind blowing. I smiled and thought of My Favourite Consort Cure and the sheer weirdness of strolling around my barrio having the same conversations we'd had strolling in blighty a few months ago. I thought of Rothgo and looked up at the red in front of me. then I wondered where the hell I was.
I didn't mention Louis Kahn. I giggled some stupid smirk about Goethe, then hated myself for banal posturing. His new works, again breathing this strange embodiment into paint, light, space and old traceries over bodies, his body, her body, an eye, a mind, a hand, a desire moving onwards through time outwards into space. I guess he must be in his ‘80’s, deep golds and luminous reds sang colour and life and energy of a young man I was going to say but I don’t want to close this down into something that looks like it could only be done by a certain type of person, a certain gender, a certain gender, a certain poise, especially when there are so many young male painters whose work has no life or joy or energy, just a stylised beige coldness…..
I cursed the narrowness of my topic, the lateness of my research, the fact that I'm meant to be in the phase of pulling all the threads together of the tome that will be, not opening up and expanding. Rounding off, packing up. Assembling THE ANSWERS into a nice linear format….. Of course I want to write about a thousand other things, than my topic. Of course I want to discuss his painting, his life history, take a quote, or an anecdote for a walk, a long, long meandering stroll into something else entirely – not assiduously tap out the interview and extract the required and received information, and turn into a nice astute observation on something really quite marginal.
Last week, nestled in the temporary bush retreat of The Estimable Colleague, (and one of the dear friends above), staring into the depths of my stupidity trying to finish a chapter – and extracting sentences one by one – I decided to grab one of her books and sit in the brief afternoon sun. Imaging her Erotics is a familiar book – a collection of writings and images by and about the performance works of Carolee Schneemann – but seeing it again brought tears to my eyes. I’m amazed that such people exist, have existed, and that I’ve met them. I’m amazed by The Estimable Colleague, the mad imaginative flights between conversation, smut, theory and imagination – her playful delight in her body, in performance, in play, in dressups. At once completely absurd and so deadly serious.
One of the astonishing things about NYC in meeting older straight (well, ostensibly hetero at least) women who have the same sense of their erotism that I thought only dykes had. For me sex isn’t just fucking, about taking and being taken. Not the stupid infantile girl need of approval and sating – but a miraculous response to the sheer impossibility of its existence – a decidedly queer contingency. Just as life is the space carved from an awareness from and a flight from death,– desire is a response to prohibition, to control, to restriction – to impossibility. It’s not just a reactive transgression against the law of the father, but a very tangible way of moving between states, conditions, memories and sensations that get compartmentalised, separated, regulated and controlled. Against the striated space of bourgeoise sexuality, queerness promises a mad line of giggling flight into absolute crazy connections – firing off each other; hand, smile, head, twig, ear, navel, banana, finger, giggle, toe, whisky, cunt, noodles, knees, hair, fist, earth, butter, nose, nipple, water, fist, vegemite, beer, armpit, cheese. Time to feed the dogs/cats/fish/birds/libido. Coffee anyone?
Schneemann’s performances have the same mad energy that embraces desire, life, connection, flesh and possibility with a distinct lack of ego, and her words make me cry. And I hate myself for having SUCH A TINY TOPIC – and that I have to slowly and painfully weave so many mad broken threads together. It’s like weaving a hair shirt at times – strand by bloody strand, and hair is such a fiddly, prickly recalcitrant thing to work with.
The tome has been and is a space for incredible, unbelievable discovery, for connection, for remaking and reviewing the world – for ASKING QUESTIONS rather than finding answers, but as a fire and brimstone anti-determinist – this phase of writing up, of proving AN ANSWER, a solution, a new party line…. Well it sucks just a bit.
My life is so amazingly happy at the moment – I’ve got so many miraculous delights occurring. TEDG showing me an astonishing essay by a student – writing ficto-crit porn deconstructions involving Deleuze. At the moment I have a delightful home, that is a real home, and a harmonious compound and a barrio where i've lived half my life and woven innumerable stories, connections and sensations between my body, other people, and the funny little sunburnt streets around. I know lots of mad brilliant women and funny sweet men, wild breathing art and great great books.