In my final installment, I have more of a roving mind than a "roving eye." Writing this column has been an interesting exercise, and the difficulty has been one of selective memory, and of finding time to dedicate to writing about the works and artists I encounter. Each of us produces so much; we process so many artists; we breathe the urgency not so much of the new but of the "next"; we communicate ourselves to death. But in doing so, we risk losing ourselves in repetition. Multiplicity stands for diversity, but sometimes I wonder if it hides a monolithic experience.
Traveling eyes more than roving eyes this week. I was in Houston to attend the Cy Twombly memorial at the Menil Collection, where the artist has a permanently installed gallery of works created in a collaboration between him, the Menil and Dia. It was the perfect occasion to revisit Twombly's importance and the reasons I have struggled, embraced, refused and loved this work. The pavilion is breathtaking, and my attention was drawn in particular to a small 1957 white painting with whispers of red. All of Twombly's interests are already in motion between the four corners of this canvas—the traces, the marks, the viscosity. In all his work there is the intense elegiac spirit of Twombly—his baroque violence, his exigent sophistication, his Arcadian idleness, his rebellious erudition, his irreverent eroticism, his uncompromising abandon, his absolute jubilation and his freedom.
I welcomed the ascetic French director Robert Bresson twice yesterday. Total serendipity, Au Hazard Balthazar. His first appearance came as I was contemplating the work of Barbara Probst and her grasp of a single moment though a multitude of lenses. Probst's images always reveal their apparatus but never fully reveal the complexity of vision, or what it is to be perceived. Bresson came to mind, and his attention to stripped away, painterly if not sculptural gestures.
The summer is a good moment to reflect and to meditate on why we do what we do. The mind vacates the tasks and is able to rejoin the mind, this place just behind the eyes.
Summer is the time when we are entitled to idleness. Liberated from the quotidian, I find my gaze like a free-associating map on which what makes sense, makes sense, and what does not, does not. It is a time for strolling and poaching, a time for giving in, unconditionally, to the dispersed events that make up my constellation of pure, unjustified, modest and selfishly solitary pleasures.
Mixed Media. Courtesy Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, and the artist.
Extraction, the most recent series of mixed media collages