Yeah. That just happened.
My family and I just moved across North America. The settings [Bushwick versus Astoria (OR)] are almost comically disparate. In Astoria, the sound of a siren is rare. Drivers rarely honk. Garbage is not strewn almost everywhere the eye rests. I don’t think I’ve seen a single instance of street art. The air is fresh. People are friendly and hardly ever in an apparent rush. I tallied a short list of stuff I miss about Brooklyn: OSLO coffee in the morning; BEST Pizza; Fortunato Bros. canoli; Artist & Craftsman; and a couple dozen friends. My list of crap I am happy to leave behind in NYC is innumerably long and varied.
In the adjustment phase after a big move, I’ve found it pays not to put a ton of credence in the initial feelings, sensations and impressions associating with both past and future. A meditative approach - letting those blasts of specificity pass through consciousness without attachment - helps soften the landing, helps one avoid calcifying narratives that fail to serve one living through any of the available time zones. I am not an astronaut planting a flag on the moon, after all.
Notes on Dimensional Time [NYC 2010+8]
Before we exited the NY Scene, I revisited the photo series “Notes on Dimensional Time (NoTD),” selecting a small fraction of representative images from the enormous collection. The project encompasses a period of eight years (our time in NY), pointing to 4D predictive processes, among others. The scope of the inventory of sequential photos spans macro-social phenomena, studio progressions/expositions, engagement with environment, and switches to other “worlds” like Switzerland and Los Angeles. Some interesting features of the work are the conforming quality of numbers, commemoration as attraction, color presence and more.
Poetry & Precipitation
We have been warned frequently to prepare for the months-long drench that saturates the Oregon Coast. The weather since we arrived has been nothing short of marvelous. The misty, rainy, cloudy days and nights of rain have affected me not in the manner folks speculated they would do. The watery atmosphere inspires me to poetry:
Minecraft means a different thing
On a computer, underground, in database analysis
Migration is no joke
If you imagine a body in a computer,
underground, in a database, analyzed
You can visualize movement sequences
in each environment. You will notice
variations, which you may find interesting,
telling, as in revealing, demonstrating
the differences in the environment(s).
He selects a water-rounded stone from many
in the driveway. This one is heavy, relatively
big, pockmarked, dark blue-gray and dense.
He explains to me the stone is dinosaur poop.
I say, “OH?” He assures me, YES, it is. I allow
him to keep it, to place it in a cupholder, in the car.
The story of the stone evolves. I like the sound
of his child voice, its conviction, its of-a-certain-age
complexity. Is that the marker for curiosity? Do
I hear a note of uncertainty, or is he inviting me
to respond, to ratify, to reinforce his narrative?
In the woods, the deer sleeps at the base
of a 100-foot pine tree, folded into a loop
of golden hair, black hooves and nose, white
tufts, breath, in measured blasts. I can see
the stars again, and that is Orion’s belt.
In the short hills across the valley, a cougar
stalks among the shoots along the River,
a vast waterway of sunken vessels, moving
through the Night toward the Ocean. I can see
it all and more through my looking glass,
pointed out the window of the attic of our
century-old house. I hear my child stirring
downstairs, by the fireplace, under his blanket.
Twins, Gymnasts 14
Pausing in a turn, we pivot, gazing at the Bridge.
The Full Moon risen above the Column, beyond ~
Past the optimum angle for the photographer.
To my eye, the mono optical version with a bit
of blur, the scenes mesh and he and I smile,
sharing the sensation of Time staging the event
inherent in our temporary condition, a point
at which the Vision may be confirmed by a knowing
look. He is a fisherman. I am an artist. Now
we are both travelers whose dimension is ever
emerging, a continuum the medium of which is
Memory. The vehicle is a machine. The sky
periodically empty, unless Eddie Vedder's jet
should cut a path through it, noisy and white.
Compare that to the circling bald eagle. Both
are emblems, representations, and autonomous
of the external view, Real of themselves,
compressed, expressive in a secondary, parallel
World of definition.
Stability achieved through joining structure,
the truss, does not explain the two does,
standing side by side in the front yard
of the darkened home, by the mailbox. Any
more than it explains the Creek between
the old Seaside road and the new one. Traffic
over there is faster, denser, more dangerous,
than we find on this one. Topology reflects
the conception of Time, not its mutability. Tom
describes George, the solitary crab in the tub
on the pier by the jetty in terms of survival,
profound endurance, fasting for 45 days
in only water. A marvel. Need for sustenance
appears to be relevant to the creature, only
in perspective, I guess.
The twins’ father, I think, is a cop. I won’t allow
this informed assumption to spoil the moment.
Celtic law is fairly strict, and divination is messy
business. Spatial separation is a negotiation
these magic beings solve through intuition. He
mentions the elder sister, describing her in thirds,
implying triplets, a very different configuration,
containing a gap. The twins subtly communicate
the answer, at the edge of his perception’s limits.
Do they always perform, I wonder? How big
is their awareness of the Other? Its reach feels
massive, an expanse outpacing reckoning. He
tries to translate it in a word-picture about complex
flips in a landing, and I recall a tiny Olympian
spinning through the space within a TV screen,
Arriving home, I have a hard time sleeping.
The distinctions between waking and dreaming
dissolved in the movements. Cushions ease
the discomfort, and the fireplace reduces the ache
in these bones. Outside, the light is fantastic,
filtered through trees and thorny brush, pooling
on the unexpected, surface. The air is beautiful,
fresh, crisp, my breath’s embrace. The tobacco
intervenes, & I hear a Song from far away. It is
not a ship, a postman, a radio, a lover, a birthday.
My phone is not ringing. It is not smart. Or dumb.
The wind rises slightly, but noticeably. I will not
forget Standing Rock, so long as I live. No one
can make me.
Accessing the Astoria art scene was a piece of cake! We met Zelda English at Blue Scorcher through our kids, and she kindly invited us to taco night at her home, where we met her polymath partner Barry (artist, arborist, mason, etc.) and a portion of her friend circle during a lovely, warm evening to-do. Subsequently, Zelda invited us to her WAKE Gallery for a closing reception for “All About Hands,” the excellent exposition featuring a collaborative project by visiting multidisciplinary creatives Ariane Pick and Yves Prince from Paris, France. The gregarious, lovely couple spent the summer painting and photographing in and around Astoria, which yielded a diverse body of work conceptually centered on the hand. The event was thoroughly enjoyable, and included a well-appointed pot luck and a raffle, too. The art was arrayed smartly in the raw, transitional show space, interspersed with text and supplemental print + hand drawn graphics. Ariane and Yves were a lively pair, dancing through the Astorian crowd of well-wishers, engaging individuals and small groups with apparent exuberance. Barry led the children, including our Lachlan, on an exploration of the pier nearby. Afterwards, on the way to the car, we dropped by McVarish Gallery and met Jill McVarish (a terrific painter herself) and Morrison Pierce, whose poignant exhibit “America Is” was on display. A few days later, my wife Lauren and I attended the monthly meeting of the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association at Baked Alaska. In sum, it was the most fun I’ve ever had at a business meeting! The agenda was facilitated ADHDA by current prez and Astoria mayoral candidate Dulcye Taylor, owner/operator of Old Town Framing Company. The meeting program commenced with a rousing presentation by recent transplant Paul Polson, who has opened a studio/gallery on 10th Street. [See a sample of Paul’s paintings HERE.] Polson sketched his impressive, diverse artsy autobiography/resume for the assembly, and shared poignant thoughts on the value of art for the community. Paul’s lifelong enthusiasm for the artistic enterprise was evident, and he didn’t hesitate to suggest ways he was willing to add his chops, which include big-time theatrical set design and Macy’s float production, to the local cultural mix. The remainder of the ADHDA program proceeded apace, was chock-full of neat upcoming opportunities to get involved with events and fundraisers, and the routine stuff one expects. When the meeting concluded Lauren and I were surrounded by friendly Astorians, excited to find out more about us and welcome us to our new home town. In a short period of time, we had no problem getting to know some Astorian artsies! Moreover, we have learned that Astoria and the coastal communities we’re exploring (e.g., Seaside, Cannon Beach, Warrenton, Tillamook, etc.) are vibrant and rich in history, and the many people we’ve met have practically uniformly been generous, friendly and kind. We are happy to report our new Oregon life is shaping up to be grand, indeed!
We visited Portland today to meet Gwen and Elizabeth at Elizabeth Leach Gallery. Judy Cooke's exhibition in ELG's front room was excellent! Afterwards, we dropped by Froelick Gallery, where I viewed several remarkable Rick Bartow paintings. We had pizza for lunch at Hot Lips Pizza, and coffee later at Jim and Patty's Coffee. Both were yumz. We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to day trip to Portland from Astoria!
The Astoria Art Walk (an ADHDA project) happens every second Saturday. The October 13 edition came on the heels of the overtime victory enjoyed by Oregon Ducks over the Washington Huskies, settling this year's football rivalry in favor of the big O’s. The win set the mood! I endeavored to crawl through a sampler of the participating art-walk galleries and studios on the list of venues, and am happy to report the affair was as I expected: a great conversation starter with local artsies, fueled by the usual finger-food/boozy spreads, plus some mindfully presented fine art. My first stop was Art Loft, a studio/gallery collective atop Astoria’s art supply shop, Dots ‘N Doodles [!], which featured a holdover show (Shon Frostad’s “Love of the Sea”), a set of framed watercolors by Stan Riedesel, also with a nautical focus, and little gem-like dot paintings by Chimoyo. I enjoyed a friendly discussion of the watery subjects in Stan’s paintings with the artist, during which fishy art-chat, I couldn’t help notice his massive hands, which are a bit incongruous, considering the sensitivity of his brushwork. I have a soft spot in my heart for art concerns like Art Loft, which serve a vital and historic role in the American cultural topology. These sustainable art orgs are generally artist-driven, community-based nodes for creative networks outside urban markets for art. The tie the social to the medium, and contribute to the environmental, continuing art ed in villages, towns and even regions across the nation. Art snobs may poo poo traditional watercolor societies, co-ops and such, but in this country they have formed a massive democratic movement for art that has even adapted to the virtual. The online correlate is Wet Canvas, which doesn’t get the kind of cool-kid attention that, say, DeviantArt or Doodle Addicts receive, but has consistently facilitated a useful and encouraging forum/exchange for artists at all levels, since 1998 (ancient, by web standards), boasts about a million members and a staggering amount of activity. Next on my list was McVarish Gallery to take in the new exhibit there, excellent paintings by Jane Terzis. As noted above, this was a repeat-visit at Jill McVarish’s great Astoria art space, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, the light in the early evening (@5pm) was flat-out wondrous, even profound. The buttery sunlight cast dramatic shadows through the big shop windows, and after a lovely talk in the midst of prep for the Art Walk crowds, which were already gathering, Jill stopped to pose by her remarkable paintings, opposite the entrance. A couple doors down is Paul Polson’s new studio-gallery, which is. after only three months in operation, shaping up to be a terrific multi-use space for the artist to make, exhibit and sell is paintings, plus potentially host talks and performances. Paul is powwowing with Jill and others to draw buzz and traffic to that corner of downtown Astoria, and the enterprise looks promising, for sure. My final stop this month on the art walk was Imogen Gallery, and Marc Boone’s installation of ab-ex tree paintings on canvas. Each of these three galleries on the tour also put out generous victuals for visitors, were delightfully hospitable, and excited about the event. I met Marc and his bride, and had a chummy talk with the former. Turns out we both have art installer anecdotes galore. His experiences are more extensive than mine. Marc is a true OG, old school artsy, and we had tons of fun remembering episodes from the logistics world for art, an often bizarre and PTSD-creating side of the art world whose practitioners rarely get the props they deserve for keeping the wheels turning and the lights on. I look forward next month to the next iteration of the Astoria Art Walk, to visiting those spots I didn’t get to this time, and returning to see new stuff at those I did!