Attention: This post is a bit lengthy, but worth it.
Summer: to be for a few days
the contemporary of roses;
to breathe what floats
around their souls in bloom.
To make of each dying rose
and to survive this sister,
absent in other roses.
from ‘Les Roses’ by Rainer Marie RilkeTwo great artists have moved into the next life in these past two years; Cy Twombly and Louise Bourgois. Both artists I love. I found Cy for the first time 3 yrs ago at the MOMA in NYC. They were showing his 'Four Seasons' and I just stared open mouthed at the beauty and also because I related so much in my own work-working literally with the seasons and beginning to loosen my line. I found him just after I finished 'Spring Flowers' and 'Spring Orchard' paintings. I was so excited because I felt a kinship, his work encouraged me by nudging my soul with "see, see...we share something...we share this life, we share a vision, we share what we see and feel..." At this point you may be wondering why I had not already known about Cy Twombly, simply because I did not go to art school and I did not begin my practice until 2007. I am quite the naive freshy! There is something so wonderful about not knowing...not knowing how I am going to make something, not knowing if its similar to something else, not even always knowing why or what I am making. Although I face many challenges this way; each time I set out on a new project or new canvas I am not distracted by what I know....I am not trying to be different....or be right...it's only me in my own way. Which is enough already.
What I really want to get at is that I believe that as much as I'm finding these artists by chance they are actually calling me and leading me...literally. Last month I had a beautiful and eerie experience with Louise Bourgoise. I had never heard of her before this May. I went to an artist presentation at Bard College. After it was over there was q&a, one of the students remarked that Louise B. had once said she "drew a circle and put all her fear in it, then she drew another and put all her fear in that" I wrote down Louise's name because it reminded me of a Mandela and I was studying Mandela's for a potential creative arts workshop. When I looked up Louise's work I did not see my work in hers, but again I felt a magnetic pull to her. I decided to splurge and order a bunch of books on her history and her work. One of the things I liked most about her was her moving between disciplines to execute her vision, also that she created what I consider "feminine" work. Weeks later I was browsing through my friends Art Forum, and an image grabbed my attention because it resembled what I working on with fabric and quilting and it just drew me to it. It turns out it was Louise's most recent work before she died-called the fabric works. Works that I had never seen before and wasn't like anything else she had previously done. These were fabric drawings she was doing made from her clothing. (Most of her notable works are gigantic marble sculptures and huge metal Spiders) The show was in NYC and Cheim & Read gallery. I went. When I stood in front of the piece that I saw in the magazine, (which was actually part of a larger piece) I felt such an emotional response that I welled up. I was like ; I get it, I get it, I get it..without knowing what I got. I even talked to Louise B, asking her what was she telling me? I know its totally crazy! But it gets crazier. After looking at the work, I asked for the title sheet because there were no titles on the wall. The piece that brought me to tears was titled, "Dawn". (and the cover that said Dawn had its back to the wall, so I hadn't seen it) After this happened I actually had to take a mental time out, because I thought I might be loosing my mind. But here I am again....finding clues and finding myself and finding answers to questions in a recent piece by Cy Twombly-The Rose III. Again, this piece grabbed my attention last night when I was looking through the internet, when I looked at it I saw my name painted in it 'Dawn' and scribbled below was 'Rilke'. This sent me in to a deep google investigation, which lead me to the poem Les Roses by Rilke,(as you know Rilke is one of my highest teachers along with Rumi) This poem inspired the last series of paintings by Cy Twombly. In this poem (see above) Rilke wrote about me and my sister Summer. He also painted this painting 2 months after Summer passed (the season and my sister).....I suppose anyone rationally minded would say its all just a name, a coincidence; but for me as Einstien said: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” I want to go everywhere, as the sun graces this earth and reaches every open space each morning .....I am going to everywhere....and Summer, Cy and Louise and many others are lighting my path.
Pages from Dawn by Louise Bourgois 2006 ( as seen in the June 2010 Art Forum)
Louise with a rose