"Man Woman Sun Moon Peace," acrylic monoprint on rice paper, 2001, SQB
I am making a new series of paintings, which are interrupting another body of work about Niagara Falls and Tantra - those paintings are still incubating in their unfinished state - and the new work is inserting itself, with insistence to build on what needs to be destroyed.
These new paintings don't want to be birthed onto a new white smooth gessoed surface, they want to imprint themselves onto canvases that are rough with dried paint. Old works that I just didn't push to completion, are being covered with the new series, which craves their new life to rest on history.
But not "Man Woman Sun Moon Peace. She is an older work on paper that would not stand for being covered or changed. She is completed, and knows it. And she is whispering to me, this pre-911 work, that I can borrow some of her qualities for the new series I am about to make.
These qualities are visceral rather than visual, and are tantric in their own way...a tension that finds release through the reconciliation of opposites. And gives a feeling like when hair stands up on your arms or the back of your neck that seems to grow as you watch it. That quality of meeting another when there is room for it all, but most especially there is vast room for mystery. And miracles.
That's how art is made. Artists jump into an image-less void following the piper's inspirational song and then emerge with a focus and energy that takes hold of the imagination. Marks are made, colors are used and line and composition take form. The trick is to see it all through, working alone in the studio, unless of course the muse deserts us. And then halted, we must wait for the next time inspiration pushes us off that cliff, or drags us by the hair, or seduces us with visions.
Man Woman Sun Moon Peace is currently hanging on my studio wall. I enjoy looking at her, plus she reminds me that sometimes the muse doesn't desert us. And I remember that art making is a collaboration with an intelligence too mysterious to fathom, and how much I dearly love being able to work with the muse.