Last Friday I attended the opening of Mood Indigo at Seattle Asian Art Museum. It was a beautiful spring evening, the sky luminous over the park, and inside the refined Art Deco building everything shimmered in pale shafts of daylight and the flicker of blue votives. The museum’s refined and stately ambiance makes any event an occasion, although curator talks can sometimes plunge me into deep states of cultural narcolepsy. Not this time! To hear curator Pam McClusky speak is to go to Burning Man without leaving your chair. As she told the story of Indigo she took us on a riveting journey through ancient civilizations and exotic lands, weaving history, myth, poetry and metaphor into a dazzling tapestry. In this exhibit her wit and insight is evident throughout, and every caption is worth a study. [Read more…]
Every time I circle the Lake I stop and look at the reeds. Which ones have been broken by the heron since yesterday? Which one snapped in the wind and now crosses its neighbor? The conversation changes slowly, infinitely, accompanied by wind and rain and the arc of the winter sun.
This is the plate before printing. It will be a mixed media transfer print, 16 by 22 inches.
This morning I am at work on the idea of the screen, as in a real analogue screen made of paper or silk, and the long tradition in Asian art of dividing the landscape into panels. When I walk around the lake, particularly in Autumn, when the leaves are so perfectly missing in places and hanging by a golden thread in others, I feel like I am walking right into a silk painting. As I’ve been working on this image of willows, going back and forth between reflection and reality, water and sky, it occurs to me that ambiguity itself is beauty.
I have been visiting the lake often in this early Autumn. The season has changed and has scrubbed this magic circle bare of fun-lovers and tourists. The colors are quiet, the birds now own the diving platform and the reeds. The mothers, the strollers, the nature stalkers and the brooding contemplatives are left to themselves to notice what they see.
I have been thinking a lot about the nature of “Photographicness.” The camera’s eye is so irreducibly clear and the screen so translucent. It seems more real than real. And yet when the artifact of this seeing makes its transition unaltered to paper it goes through a metamorphosis. In some ways it seems to die. The more “real” something is the more I recognize it. And the more quickly I look away, as though I “know” what it has to tell me already. So I have been experimenting with subtraction, reduction and what happens when you modify a photographic image through the alchemy of transfer printing. This first image is an image that lives in digital form only. The second one is an archival pigment transfer on Lustro Dull Cover.