Tuesday, December 24, 2013
DUST MOTES AND CIGARETTE SMOKE: A PAINTER WEIGHS IN FROM BROOKLYN...
From a reader:
I wanted to thank you for your reply to my comment on your "find what
you love and let it kill you" post the other day, and for bothering to
retype it once it got deleted. I've been thinking about what you said
- that we are crazy… and not just in the romantic/artsy sense of the
Painted some snow-filled pots two days ago in my icy backyard.
Beforehand I was thinking about the capitalism that is grinding up all
social cohesion and about the american-led war against all the
little/ancient societies of the globe. Thinking, what in god's name
can be done? How to fight back?
Then, during painting, how I would never want painting to be part of
any political struggle except on its own insignificant terms - just
observing/participating-in whatever little corner of existence I find
myself in - a fence, some brown reeds, steaming humps of snow.
And after: how it's really just us, the devil, Mary, and the child in
her womb in whatever little corner of the world we're in. And she
seems to know almost nothing, just a little corner of Palestine, not
even about sex. While the evil one seems to control everything, know
everything (is probably reading this email), twist everything…
But her victory is so obvious, so utter. Even the brilliant, huge
counter-refomormation paintings seem to miss how _completely_ she
crushes him (she's the one we call "terribilis," not him). Yet the
truth is shot like radiation through everyday material: the warm
shadow in the folds of a crumpled tissue, the broken pencil point left
on a church pew, dust motes in light, the microclimate of a hot
sidewalk. In short, our millennia-old, common existence, which we're
now mostly too busy to notice, but which menaces us and loves us
Then again, there is a dull horror to the everyday - old wounds that
should have healed but haven't. STUPID misunderstandings that no
amount of explaining seems to be able to overcome. Anger buried and
exhumed. THe sudden awareness of lost years.
We don't live on light and dust motes alone, as much as I sometimes
wish we could. There is the whole social dimension. THe need for
justice. The need to keep talking, keep trying to understand and to
make clear. The Not Yet.
Anyway, here is a painting of a plant and some objects in my studio at
night. Thanks for your openness, your willingness to talk to
strangers, your beautiful photographs, and for LA (never been there
except to smoke a cigarette outside the Amtrak station - I'll never
forget the thickness of the light, smell of the plants and the heat of
I'm also attaching the snow-filled pots mentioned above.
Matt (brooklyn, ny)
See more at http://mkkirby.wordpress.com/.