Saturday, August 17, 2013

Art reader's digest

From a review by Holland Cotter in the New York Times of a show by the great Italian painter Giorgio Morandi:

(Near the end of his life,)  "His hand had lost steadiness; his eyesight was, perhaps, failing,  But he didn't rest.  He kept painting.  Why?

Giorgio Morandi, Natura Morte (Still Life), 1954

"You might ask other artist-poets this question: Joseph Albers, say, or Paul Klee or Agnes Martin or a New York artist I know who sits down at his apartment desk for two hours every day -- only two, but always two -- to embroider small squares of raw canvas with abstract patterns in silk thread.  The work is close, slow and painstaking, done stitch by stitch, row by row -- letter by letter, line by line -- in calligraphic loops and tufts.  An inch of embroidery, approximately the size of a sonnet quatrain, takes months to complete.

"But the work goes on.  Because it is controllable reality.  It is a form of thinking that frees up thought.  It is time-consuming, but time-slowing, isolating but self-fulfilling.  It is a part of life, but also a metaphor for how life should be: with everything in place, every pattern clear, every rhyme exact, every goal near."


Kathy comments:

The good news: a lyrical description of the making of art, perfectly capturing the transcendent allure of slow handwork.

The bad news: why couldn't Cotter have named his admirable artist-friend?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this. Love the lyrical description.

    I got good comments on showing my daily beads to one of my blog followers last week. But made the mistake of showing someone else who fell about laughing..."why? and what was I going to do with them?" Basically it wasn't her thing, too tedious, but falling about laughing kept her from actually listening to my reply.
    I Do have a Plan.