This past summer, I completed a video as part of the Withdrawn: scribing Nancy project. Made in collaboration with artist Cyndy Mochizuki, the video explores process, memory, the image, materiality and the intimate through the fragments of text appropriated from Jean-Luc Nancy’s essay, “The Image – The Distinct”. The video is now online.Thank you, Cyndy Mochizuki and Marc Hansen for your work in making the video available!
The video can be accessed at Vimeo. Type jasna guy touch, in the search videos box.
On July 5th, one of my favorite artists, Cy Twombly died. The scribbles, drips, scratchy integration of text, drawing and paint, the vast canvases and the re/interpretation of antique literary sources and modern poetry are some of the aspects that drew me to his work. Twombly painted flowers several times throughout his career, the most recent in 2008, a series of roses that incorporated some fragments of text from Rilke’s own addresses to the rose. Since I’ve been working with rose petals these past two years, I thought I’d name this recent series of 12 white-petal drawings, “12 for Cy.”
When I post something here on the blogsite, it feels like it should be a finished product, when in fact, it usually is not, but a work in progress – a vulnerable moment. These recent large petal images are at that state right now – still in the process of morphing – perhaps they will survive the changes and perhaps they will not. What am I looking for? A balance between legibility and opacity, between clarity and mere trace. The powdered pastel washes beautifully, leaves rivulets of grainy drips.
I’m revisiting the white petals that I’ve scribed so far, and using them as the basis for new drawings and narratives. Each petal is enlarged to 38″ x 39″.
Cloth, light, flesh and color are again under discussion in Nancy’s engagement with Pontormo (as it was with his exploration of Caravaggio; cf. my posts of March). Air and voice become the vehicles of the invisible, the hidden, the secret. The ample robes of Elizabeth and Mary float and swirl around the solid forms, the spirit incarnate, a moment frozen in mid air. Bill Viola, in his video re-interpretation of this painting, “The Greeting” of 1995, picks up the metaphor of the swirling cloth – figures and garb moving in extreme slow motion, placing the weight of the meeting on the flutter and movement. Viola also adds a enigmatic voice to Mary, “Can you help me, I need to talk with you,” Mary whispers to Elizabeth, leaving the viewer puzzling over the message.
This blogging project based on drawing and text, using a variety of drawing media including the inscribed, tattooed white rose petals creates a space that in turn allows for elaboration and exploration in other directions. Here is a new project I’ve recently undertaken which has arisen from the essay I’ve been working on for the past while, “The Visitation,” by Jean-Luc Nancy.
In the biblical tale of the Visitation, the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth affirmed the physical presence of the double miracle – the virgin conception and the equally miraculous pregnancy of Elizabeth, a woman already past childbearing age. From that meeting, came the iconic Christian prayer, said to have been spoken by Mary upon greeting Elizabeth – the magnificat. The prayer speaks of love, of duty, of the handmaiden chosen and exhaulted above others: “…from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” It is a beautiful, patriarchical document of belief that focuses on the power of the father and positions Mary as a vehicle of divine will. I have chosen to explore some of these ideas – love, the body, the concept of the feminine as creator, and have begun a project that reinscribes into the original words, a new voice, made of even older words, those of Sappho, along with my own dialogues that address my own realities of embodiment – via memories and present experiences of ageing.
This work in progress, I am producing on my studio wall – utilizing the inscribed petals as vehicles for the texts, and, as a counterpoint, I am drawing with graphite and acrylic onto the wall.