Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Curated by: Tereza Swanda and Angela Rose Voulgarelis
Featuring work by: Fletcher Boote, Maya Pindyck, Tereza Swanda, Angela Rose Voulgarelis
On View: Thursday January 5 - Saturday February 4, 2017
Gallery Hours:  W-Sat, 12-7pm/ Su, event dependent
Saturday January 14; Reception: 6-8pm, Artist Talk:, 8-9pm
Embroidery Circle: Saturday January 21, 11am-1pm

Cambridge, MA -- Gallery 263 is pleased to present M/othering, a Curatorial Proposal Series exhibition that features recent works by Fletcher Boote, Maya Pindyck, Tereza Swanda, and Angela Rose Voulgarelis. These four artists draw on their experiences of motherhood and childhood in relation to the often-complicated dynamics of family relationships, cultural identity, and positions of privilege. They explore these themes through a range of media, driven by questions about inheritance and systems; What continuity is there, if any, between generations? What gets handed down from mother to child? What gets passed from nation to education, or from education to family structure? What images and stereotypes of mothering tend to spread and reproduce?

All four artists featured in M/othering have attended art workshops for the past twenty years led by South African artists Rose Shakinovsky and Claire Gavronsky, which encourage reflection on the interconnectivity of social, cultural, and familial experiences. Each artist in this exhibition considers the far-reaching impacts and political implications of everyday notions of “othering” and “mothering” in connection to their own lives.

In her audio series “Like Night and Day,” Fletcher Boote explores nuances of domesticity and family through various arrangements of sounds. Recordings from her daily life with young children are the backdrop for compositions which point to the impact of repetition, give relevancy to the unexceptional, and question a hierarchy that qualifies music as one thing and “noise” as an “other.”

In the series “Out of Lezley”, Maya Pindyck’s gouache portraits are an elegy to the black lives lost to police brutality in the United States. Working from a media photograph of Lezley McSpadden taken after her son Mike Brown was killed, she renders visible multiple faces that blend source material, medium, and collective grief. 

Tereza Swanda works with themes of erasure and recognition. In “Spot Light,” embedded portraits of victims of police brutality are slowly revealed as participants wash their hands. Illuminated with light and color, Swanda preserves and displays these cracked, painful images. 

In her paintings and performance-based work, Angela Rose Voulgarelis re-contextualizes notions of “women’s work”. Her paintings are an exploration of the figure in relation to the context of the everyday. In the ongoing project, “Airing Dirty Laundry”, Voulgarelis prompts participation with beginnings of phrases such as “Don’t Be Too…”, or “Not Enough….”, asking visitors to complete the phrase in writing. Voulgarelis then embroiders the responses in public spaces, inviting conversation and exchange.

Please join us on Saturday January 21st from 11am-1pm for an embroidery circle in relation to the “Airing Dirty Laundry” project. Participants will be provided with instructions and materials. Free and appropriate for all ages and sewing skill levels. Youth must be accompanied by an adult. Please RSVP with your interest in attending and the number of guests in your party to: contact@gallery263.com. The date of this event coincides with the Women’s March on Washington D.C. We invite you to join us at Gallery 263 in solidarity.

Gallery 263 looks forward to inviting exchange and dialogue with this powerful exhibition as the first of our Curatorial Proposal Series program in 2017.  We hope to see you at the Reception/Artist Talk on January 14th, or for the Embroidery Circle on January 21st.

Gallery 263 advances the artistic endeavors of makers and performers, while fostering public engagement, enrichment, and exchange. Functioning as a creative nexus, Gallery 263 provides a contemporary voice for the arts in Cambridge and our regional communities. Gallery 263 exhibits are free and open to the public

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Dirty Towel Rack

Appropriated image from the Classical Section of the MET
With Dirty Studio Towel

Friday, April 8, 2016

Art as Advocacy

Part of Vermont College of Fine Arts 2015 Alumni Symposium

Sunday, April 3, 2016

How can one entertain the idea that there is something much further to know than the known

I think this relates to your idea of going beyond one's problems.
Would  blowing up classical sculpture for example of the Masters of Western Philosophy, would that do it? Would it express something beyond the human condition?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Who are we without our problems

How and why do we separate what are the problems and what are the highlights in life? Are they not intertwined and not mutually exclusive? I don't think we have to cling to and identify with our problems. But that is not to erase them all together. (They really can't be erased, the stain will remain.) Problems exist. Sometimes they are there to jolt us out of a current pacifism. They are just another part of the wave of life.

An unexpected relic

by Anitra Haendel

Thursday, March 31, 2016

New York Pilgrimage

First stop:

1. Dinner but I can't eat. You would have liked the spice.
2. The shiny object under your grave
3. Your view
4. An exchange

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Clogging the drain

Clogging the Drain, No. 86224-1, 4, and 5, (Impermanent Resident Series,) 2016 
Lint, dust and colored pencil on tape, washed 
Site: Washington Wardman Park Marriott, CAA Conference, February 5, 2016

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Who are we without our problems?‏

Who are we without our problems?‏

I'm at the Guggenheim in New York, at the Burri show. It's magnificent, as a workshopper described to me a few days ago. I couldn't agree more. 

When I first saw Burri's Cloth I thought I understood it. I knew it, instantly. I felt like it was a beautiful "fuck you" to the Art Establishment. Pretty major projection on my part. I mean, I grew up lower middle class and had a big chip on my shoulder about "everyone else" who had money, who seemingly had more opportunities because they weren't as bad off as I was. Super self centered, and embarrassingly superficial, but that's how I was. So when I saw Burri's cloth, I felt like finally someone who is using meaningful materials to say something sharp, simple, poetic, and spot on about something simple. His is a big gesture using a very little gesture. Just some gold leaf on a sack cloth. Nothing more than some stitches. But then see what happens when he does that: majesty. 

20 years on I hope to have lost some of that edge. I understand these works on very different ways. I've never seen so many at one time before. 

So who am I without my perceived problem of being 'poor'? What can I contribute? What do I have to say?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A History of the Months and the Meanings of their Names

A History of the Months

The original Roman year had 10 named months Martius "March", Aprilis "April", Maius "May", Junius "June", Quintilis "July", Sextilis "August",September "September", October "October", November "November", December "December", and probably two unnamed months in the dead of winter when not much happened in agriculture. The year began with Martius "March". Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome circa 700 BC, added the two months Januarius "January" and Februarius "February". He also moved the beginning of the year from Marius to Januarius and changed the number of days in several months to be odd, a lucky number. After Februarius there was occasionally an additional month of Intercalaris "intercalendar". This is the origin of the leap-year day being in February. In 46 BC, Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar (hence the Julian calendar) changing the number of days in many months and removing Intercalaris.

January -- Janus's month

Middle English Januarie
Latin Januarius
 "of Janus"
Latin Janu(s)
 "Janus" + -arius "ary (pertaining to)"
Latin Januarius mensis
 "month of Janus"
Janus is the Roman god of gates and doorways, depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions. His festival month is January.
Januarius had 29 days, until Julius when it became 31 days long.

February -- month of Februa

Middle English Februarius
Latin Februarius
 "of Februa"
Latin Februa(s)
 "Februa" + -arius "ary (pertaining to)"
Latin Februarius mensis
 "month of Februa"
Latin dies februatus
 "day of purification"
Februarius had 28 days, until circa 450 BC when it had 23 or 24 days on some of every second year, until Julius when it had 29 days on every fourth year and 28 days otherwise. Februa is the Roman festival of purification, held on February fifteenth. It is possibly of Sabine origin.
February was originally the last month of the year. It is named after "februa," the plural of the Roman word "februum" for purification. The Roman festival of purification was held during that month. Originally it was a festival for preparing for the new year as well as for the new planting season. The gods and ancestors had to be pleased so that fertile fields would follow. They, therefore, made atonement or reparations for wrongs done during this month.

Februarius, a Month of Purification

Like January, February was not originally in the earliest Roman calendar system.
  • To complete the calendar year, the Romans inserted a blank numberr of days or an occasional intercalary month in the “dead” season of midwinter, between the last month of the year (December) and the first month of the next year (March).
  • Tradition says that Numa Pompilius, the legendary second Roman king (circa 715-672 B.C.; AUC 39-82) added the months of Januarius (Ianuarius) and Februarius for the previously unnamed period.
  • Julius Caesar revised the lengths of the months in his calendar reform.
  • He gave February 28 days, except for every fourth year, when it had an extra day between February 23 and 24 (not at the end of the month as it is now).
  • The name, Februarius, came about because of the Roman ceremonies for religious purification and expiation which took place during that month in anticipation of the new year; which originally began on March 1.
  • The most important festival in February was the Lupercalia, the ancient feast of fruitfulness, or fertility, on February 15.
  • The Lupercalian festival was an ancient fertility rite whose origins are lost in antiquity and may even predate civilization.
  • These religious rites were under the supervision of a group of priests called the Luperci that was divided into two colleges called Quinctillani andFabiani and each was in charge of a master (magister).
  • In 44 B.C., a third college, the Luperci Iulii, was established in honor of Julius Caesar; and on February 15 of that year, Mark Antony, as its magister, offered to make Caesar king, just a month before Caesar’s assassination.
  • The Lupercalian rites began as the priests gathered in the cave of Lupercal on the southwestern part of the Palatine Hill.
  • There the priests sacrificed goats and a young dog to the god Faunus, after which the foreheads of two youthful Luperci of high rank were smeared with the blood of the victims.
  • Later the blood was wiped off with wool dipped in milk, then the ritual required the two young men to laugh.
  • After a sacrificial feast, they stripped themselves naked and put on a “loin skin” from the skins of the slain goats.
  • Holding strips of the hides, they ran around the walls of the old Palatine community, hitting or snapping at all of those they came close to, especially women; an action which was believed to bring fertility, even to barren women, and a safe delivery in childbirth.
  • The goat-skin thongs were called februa, purifiers, which was derived from februo, to purify, and the day of purification.
  • William Shakespeare made use of the “Feast of the Lupercal” when he had Julius Caesar tell his barren wife, Calphurnia, to “Stand you directly in Antonio’s way when he doth run his course.” Then he instructed Mark Antony, “Forget not in your speed, Antonio, to touch Calphurnia; for our elders say, the barren, touched in this holy chase, shake off their sterile curse.” Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene ii, lines 3-9.
  • The Lupercalia was observed well into the Christian era. It is said that Pope Gelasius I introduced the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, called Candlemas in A.D. 494, to counteract the excesses of the pagan celebrations of the Lupercalia.
  • The Saxons called the month of February Sol-monath in recognition of the returning strength of the sun.


The Lupercalia was celebrated on the fifteenth day before the kalends of March (February 15th).  One unusual aspect of this festival was that it was not associated with a temple of a god.  First of all, the Romans themselves were a bit confused about which god this holiday honored.  Was it Lupercus, or Inuus, or Faunus?  No one was absolutely certain, but that did not prevent this popular festival from being celebrated.  The focal point of this festival was a site on the Palatine hill: the Lupercal, the cave in which, according to legend, the wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, as depicted in this famous statuary group (the wolf is fifth century BC, but the twins were added in the early 16th century AD).

            The Lupercalia recalled the primitive days of Rome's existence, when, according to Roman tradition, a small community of shepherds lived in thatched huts on the Palatine hill, ruled by the founder of Rome, Romulus.  Dionysius of Halicarnassus tells us that in his day (first century BC), one of these huts, made out of sticks and reeds, stood on the slope of the Palatine toward the Circus Maximus.   This hut was honored as a sacred place and was kept in good repair (Roman Antiquities 1.79.11). 
This primitive settlement, however,  was more than just a popular tradition; modern archaeology has discovered the post holes of huts dating to the eighth century BC (the traditional date of Rome's foundation was 753 BC).  It seems probable that the name of the festival was derived from lupus ("wolf").  This derivation makes sense for a festival that was connected with a settlement of shepherds, whose most feared predator was the wolf.
In general, the ancients viewed the Lupercalia as a purification and fertility rite.  The ritual involved the sacrifice of goats and a dog in the Lupercal by priests called Luperci,1who smeared the foreheads of two noble young men with the blood of the sacrificed animals and then wiped it off.  At this point, the youths were required to laugh.  Then the luperci, clothed in loincloths, ran about the area, lashing everyone they met with strips of skin from the sacrificed goats.  Young wives were particularly eager to receive these blows, because it was believed that the ritual promoted fertility and easy childbirth.  These ceremonies were accompanied by much revelry and drinking.
The Lupercalia was so popular that it survived the onset of Christianity, but in a different form.  In 494 AD, the Pope made February 15 the feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary. 

Intercalaris -- inter-calendar month

Latin Intercalaris "inter-calendar"
Latin Mercedonius
 (popular name) "?"
Intercalaris had 27 days until the month was abolished by Julius.

March -- Mars' month

Middle English March(e)
Anglo-French March(e)

Old English Martius

Latin Martius
 "of Mars"
Latin Marti(s)
 "Mars" + -us (adj. suffix)
Latin Martius mensis
 "month of Mars"
Martius has always had 31 days.
March was the original beginning of the year, and the time for the resumption of war.
Mars is the Roman god of war. He is identified with the Greek god Ares.

April -- Aphrodite's month

Old English April(is)
Latin Aprilis

Etruscan Apru

Greek Aphro
, short for Aphrodite.
Aprilis had 30 days, until Numa when it had 29 days, until Julius when it became 30 days long.
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She is identified with the Roman goddess Venus.

May -- Maia's month

Old French Mai
Old English Maius

Latin Maius
 "of Maia"
Latin Maius mensis
 "month of Maia"
Maius has always had 31 days.
Maia (meaning "the great one") is the Italic goddess of spring, the daughter of Faunus, and wife of Vulcan.

June -- Juno's month

Middle English jun(e)
Old French juin

Old English junius

Latin Junius
 "of Juno"
Latin Junius mensis
 "month of Juno"
Junius had 30 days, until Numa when it had 29 days, until Julius when it became 30 days long.
Juno is the principle goddess of the Roman Pantheon. She is the goddess of marriage and the well-being of women. She is the wife and sister of Jupiter. She is identified with the Greek goddess Hera.

July -- Julius Caesar's month

Middle English Julie
Latin Julius
Latin Julius mensis
 "month of Julius"
Latin quintilis mensis
 "fifth month"
Quintilis (and later Julius) has always had 31 days.
Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar (hence the Julian calendar) in 46 BC. In the process, he renamed this month after himself.

August -- Augustus Caesar's month

Latin Augustus "Augustus"
Latin Augustus mensis
 "month of Augustus"
Latin sextilis mensis
 "sixth month"
Sextilis had 30 days, until Numa when it had 29 days, until Julius when it became 31 days long.
Augustus Caesar clarified and completed the calendar reform of Julius Caesar. In the process, he also renamed this month after himself.

September -- the seventh month

Middle English septembre
Latin September

Latin septem
 "seven" + -ber (adj. suffix)
Latin september mensis
 "seventh month"
September had 30 days, until Numa when it had 29 days, until Julius when it became 30 days long.

October -- the eighth month

Middle English octobre
Latin October

Latin octo
 "eight" + -ber (adj. suffix)
Latin october mensis
 "eighth month"
October has always had 31 days.

November -- the nineth month

Middle English Novembre
Latin November

Latin Novembris mensis
 "nineth month"
Novembris had 30 days, until Numa when it had 29 days, until Julius when it became 30 days long.

December -- the tenth month

Middle English decembre
Old French decembre

Latin december
 "tenth month"
Latin decem
 "ten" + -ber (adj. suffix)
December had 30 days, until Numa when it had 29 days, until Julius when it became 31 days long.


These sources are somewhat inconsistent. I have chosen interpretations that are predominate among sources or that seem most reasonable.
William Morris, editor, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, New College Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1976
Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Portland House, New York, 1989
William Matthew O'Neil, Time and the Calendars, Sydney University Press, 1975

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Things we carry, embed into soap

phrases- in relation to capitalism
words like:
       mother/whore (sides of the same soap)
       you/me (sides of the same soap)
colors- in relation to childhood toys
       pencil shavings
       a wall of neutrals
embed images
       police brutality in the US
       Syrian refugees in Europe

Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" plays in the studio

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Re: Hello Stranger

On Nov 17, 2015, at 7:57 AM
I think our dialogue is relevant, (in how strangers can interact perhaps differently from the known.) So I posted the last few entries on the blog. I hope you don't mind. I've been thinking about making the dialogue public. Is that alright with you?

(I knew that was a lyric.) 

Yes, of course it's all right!  I was wondering when you were going to start doing that.

I'm glad that you're ok.  I'm doing pretty well.  I'm kind of glad that my laptop is dead & I won't be able to use it until Thursday.  While I was having my breakfast this morning, instead of sitting on the couch with the laptop, I sat at the dining room table and watched the birds at the two feeders.  I set them up for my mom & dad, who are avid birdwatchers--but I've really gotten into watching them too!  They're so fascinating.  I saw three woodpeckers and three blue jays (along with the usual chickadee gang).  It's cool 'cause both bird feeders are close to the window, so you can really see all of the details, the color of their feathers, etc.  There are squirrels too (instead of trying to keep them away, I thought we should just set one feeder lower down, for both them and the bigger birds).  It was a really nice way to start the day.  Much better than reading depressing news and going on Facebook.

Love, in the sense you're talking about, is the answer.  It's the only way.  But it seems that very few people know that, and live their lives accordingly.  I've been thinking a lot about this land my family has, and how I/we could use it in a way that's much more in line with my values.  I would love to gradually turn it into a farm/art colony, a place that is self-sustaining as much as possible, and one that can feed people in many different ways.  It's exciting to think about all of the possibilities!  It would take a lot of work, time, and money of course, but it would be worth it.  I'm really getting tired of giving my time to other people, in exchange for a relative pittance.  And the thought of living in an artists colony, and raising vegetables and animals, makes me happy!

I hope you're having a nice morning.

On Nov 18, 2015, morning

It's interesting what one spends his time on. Really we only have one day. Just today to spend our attention on something. How do we want to spend it? Watching the morning birds sounds like a great start. Both of the kids are bird lovers, both find them fascinating. (Al announced she wanted to be an ornithologist in preschool. I had to look up the word!) We have a bird feeder in the back but I want to get on the roof to mount one next to the kitchen window. It would provide hours of entertainment and enrichment to all our lives. Do they need to have the feeder there for a while in order to form a new habit to fly to that spot, instead of in the back of the house, I wonder? 

(I'm weaning myself off of FB except for interesting articles/videos.) However just yesterday I heard Imagine on the Piano at the sight of the attacks in Paris through fb. The same response happened in New York. Performers and singers were the first to voice their grief. Sound was the first artform, platform. I wonder what that sound does, the reverberation

  1. 1.
    prolongation of a sound; resonance.
    "electronic effects have been added, such as echo and reverberation"
    synonyms:resonanceecho, echoing, re-echoing, resoundingringingbooming,rumbling More
  2. 2.
    a continuing effect; a repercussion.
    "the attack has had reverberations around the world"

and what that effect that has in the same space as the previous sound was made. 

I just watched the original video for Imagine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRhq-yO1KN8 What a strange video! Yoko and John walking up to this mansion with Greek pillars, black silhouettes against white morning light. Then a flash of "There is not here". There are busts by the doorway as John and Yoko vanish through the doors. Then Yoko opens the windows letting light in. I wonder about that phrase "Imagine no possessions," and they sit in this lavish space. I wonder how Yoko embodies the song as she sits next to John on the piano. I wonder how much of the song was produced, written, imagined through their relationship. 

If we were to live our lives according to that love, what would it look like? Lets describe it in detail. I have to stop the notion that my physicality stops at my skin (I'm thinking of it as outside in where "I" am somewhere on the 'in' place. That's already wrong cause I'm not just in this 'in' place although that is where I feel myself. How absurd! So first I have to extend. I am not only in this in place but I expand as far as I can. Then I encounter another with his idea of self. I can't embody him. But I can listen. Listen to his body language, his constructs, but I pay attention to the subtleties, the unspoken gestures. I try not to interact with just the surface. (What's on the surface often repels one as people are layered with their walls and to break through them takes some effort.) I try to interact with something other than the "I". I try to look for what else is there?

Everyone has that other layer, the blood, the veins, the muscles, then the bones, the core. Krishnamurti says that that idea is wrong too, I think. The way I understand him is that he goes the other way, not into the body but out of it. He understands the infinite self. 

When I watch the video again, I notice where the two sit side-by-side at the piano and the words although they come out of John's mouth are very well understood by Yoko especially in the part where he sings," And the world will live as one." (She nods or smiles slightly. Her understanding is clear.) There are also birds chirping in the end. Nice way to come full circle.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hello Stranger

If today was your last day (or if we can start understanding that there is no time,) how would you live your life? Would you do anything differently? Would you see that person across from you differently? We take each other for granted, don't we on an everyday basis. I know I take my family for granted more than I should. It's hard to see my daughter's face and think about the world she has to face as she grows. And in that vein, all I can do with my son is hold and kiss him. (He's such a genuine sunshine!) 

I'm ok. But I want to build a cob house, today! Live and work out of the city. Surround myself with greenery. Become more involved in 'nature' and learn from her cycles than our man-made dramas. (We spin our wheels in our ego-centered conquests.) In our power/powerlessness duality. If I focus on the sunset, the beach, the bird, or a face, than all is ok. When I look at the media, the shit we do, then I'm paralyzed. 

Is it possible to stop (shitting)? Is it possible to evolve from hate? No other animal intentionally goes and bombs another. They may eat one another, but they do not eat the whole tribe due to another philosophy or a different way of life. Why do we?

The most I can do in my day is love (love in the sense to recognize that the person next to me has the same or similar desires, wants and needs. And they have the same vulnerability in existence. I can have empathy for that fragility. 

I'll live differently today, with the above in mind. Thanks!

How are you?

Yeah, endless war doesn't work, obviously.  It's just created an even bigger problem.  Fourteen years (14!!) in Afghanistan, and for what?  (Not to mention the travesty of Iraq)... It's crazy.  There are other, better solutions that don't involve killing.  Yes, money/capitalism is a big part of it, for sure.

Somehow, I managed to leave my laptop cord in the studio yesterday.  It's weird, I never do that.  So, my battery is rapidly diminishing... But I wanted to write back to you, at least a few lines!  Sometimes I just want to ask you how you are.  It seems like we never do that.  So, how are you?  (is it somehow too risky to do that?  Are we really supposed to stick to art etc. alone?  What are the rules?  Are there any?  Unspoken ones, I guess).  

I've been listening to this song a lot lately.  I love Shelby Lynn's voice (althoughI haven't listened to anything else by her).  And Peter Wolf is, well, semi-legendary, I guess.

Sent: Monday, November 16, 2015 11:14 AM
Subject: RE: more of this

'Cleaning up the neighborhood' - These are the words describing what to do with Extremist militants of a street in Brussles. How ironic to think about how we orchestrate a 'cleansing'. (In terms of ethnic cleansing) Police are carrying out raids. What does that mean? Is it any different from NAZI's invading Jewish homes in WWII? What is the difference? An arm for an arm, a tooth for a tooth. Where does this mentality take us? When will we see the whole person, their pain, similar to ours, just seen from another light. Can we bridge difference? Or at least can we coexist?

I think when money takes precedence over people, the system is flawed. (And it has done that for 6000 or more years when we first seeded that we can subjugate others for our own gain.) They were talking this morning on NPR about what drives Afghan men/boys into the military and to join ISIS and tying that to their salary and being able to provide for their families as ISIS pays a monthly wage. 

On mornings like these (and perhaps because I am teaching in the middle of construction,) it's hard to see beauty through cries for war. I take some solace in the image of Eiffel tower as the peace sign.

Date: Sat, 14 Nov 2015 03:17:26 +0000
Subject: Re: more of this

Of course!  You should be Bowie, and I should be Cher.  Brilliant.  I hadn't thought of that.

Y'know, I didn't even think of Hello Stranger as the title of that piece (whatever it is)--I was really just saying hello to you, using that song title. But it's such a good title!--for the sculpture, for a performance, for any number of things.  The guy in the suit (me, him, you, whoever) is the Stranger--echoes of Camus & existentialism, of course, but also a stranger in the sense of being estranged, being disconnected from the real, from lived life.  (Then there's simply the idea of the strange, weird things, and then the way things can get stranger the more you look and think about them.  Words start to look strange when they're repeated.  strange strange strange stranger stranger stranger... I feel a sense of estrangement sometimes, but I think those poor guys in their suits have it much worse than I do.  We kind of hate them, don't we, but is it possible to have compassion for them?  When I feel hatred or disgust for someone, or I hear those feelings being voiced by someone else, I sometimes think of Gandhi or MLK and wonder, what is a loving response to this person (or people, situation, etc.)? ... It's not easy to come up with one, usually.  Especially tonight, when I read about people being executed with AK-47s and bombs going off.  So unbelievably sad, for everyone, for the world.  Horrible.  The larger geopolitical picture is much more complicated, and the U.S. is implicated in so much of it, of course.  But right now, it's just hard to feel anything but sadness about it.

I didn't really mean to go off on that tangent, but obviously it's on my mind at the moment.

The other evening, when I was at the studio, I was thinking about these two rooms that I spend a fair amount of time in.  One room is at my job, where we "overwinter" all of these plants from various buildings on the property.  Some of the plants are pretty large.  There are elephant ears, peace lilies, things like that.  The room is full of them, so part of my job is to take care of them (yes, I talk to them sometimes, don't tell anyone!), and sometimes I have to paint signs & other things in this room, so often I sit and work in the middle of all these plants.  It's really nice to be surrounded by green--I think it has a good psychological effect, and of course there's lots of oxygen!  So then the other room is my studio, which is very different--no plants, no green stuff, some color but not much, a lot of muted shades of brown and gray.  Where am I going with this?  I'm not sure... There's something I like about both places--I can feel comfortable and contented in both (of course, it's nicer to be in the studio than at work!)... I guess I was thinking about how separate they are (estranged?) and how different, the whole art/life/no separation theme, as you put it.  Work on the one hand, and play on the other (which is work also!).  Maybe it's also the feeling I have of needing/wanting both the green of the country and the gray of the city.  I feel as though I'm slowly discovering some sort of theme here, like a gradual realization about something.  Maybe part of my practice will be to bridge that urban/rural divide (if there is one).  When I saw my friend Mike the other day, I mentioned that I wanted to talk to him at some point about building a studio, and he was really into the idea, he said he'd help me (he does carpentry and other related things for work).  So I'm starting to get excited about that--I really hope we can do that next year.

Thanks for the links--looking forward to the Kentridge, especially.

Sent: Friday, November 13, 2015 12 AM
Subject: No more of this!

Sent: Friday, November 13, 2015 7:49 AM
Subject: RE: more of this

You know as soon as I saw your Hello Stranger sculpture I thought about that song coming from somewhere within it. That connection to music is very clear. But the performative element is even more appealing. You, because you embody the male form in your current Earthy condition, can have great fun playing in a business suit. (A video of you in suit working in the studio.) That alone changes things. This morning we were talking about the absurd presence of the suits walking around the city. They have an air of superiority, but it's almost always masking something which is clear to me. I feel sad for these men. That is their way of relating to the world. How sad that they see their existence in a similar way day in and day out. To play within that absurdity would be phenomenal. 

That's another reason I like Kentridge so much. He points to the absurdity of his own thoughts while he arts, performs, plays often alongside a music track. He's very clear about valuing the play and equating that to the work. (I'm sure this whole lecture is great but a little before 16:59 he explains how to understand the world not as a fact but in a state of 'provisionality', in continuous development. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO5_FZiB950. He also talks about sound and how we construct it either being absorbed or removed.) Juicy stuff! And you must watch it until at least 20:52, listing the thoughts in his head while he draws. The absurdity to having to "buy whisky the next day." 

I also like how he wears the same white pressed shirt with black slacks everywhere he goes. 

You have the potential to swing in multiple directions it seems and that is refreshing. First it is the play in the studio with everyday material: (the throwing up all the pieces and seeing where they land.) And through the writing of the past months now, along with the humor, there is an honest reflection on who one is. 

I just thought about wanting you to read some of these passages or sing a song or something at my funeral, although I don't want a funeral. I want that wooden boat with sticks, a flame on water thing. But a nice song or a reading would be nice there too. It should be a celebration of the person and their life's work. (Maybe all the timber is my artwork! That sounds good too: burn it so there is more room for other's to create!)

Maybe every time there is a corpse we should burn the house and it's contents. (Let them go and build our own so we don't inherit each other's problems. Also it may be a good way to fertilize the soil underneath.)

Ani made me a Birthing CD, I'm hoping to make her a Dying CD. (I want to collaborate with Beth on this, but haven't put the file in the mail yet.)

On another note, in that image of David Bowie and Cher, can I be David and can you be Cher? I also thought about the Marina Abramovic and Ulay and their hair tied together for 17 hours. Although I don't like looking at her work often, Rhythm O "I am free" performance was catastrophic but in the same vein so powerful in how the public objectified her in her 'puppet' state and as soon as the performance was over and she was herself, everyone had to run away for fear of confronting the human being they had taken advantage of. https://vimeo.com/71952791

Be well.

Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2015 22:56:45 +0000
Subject: more of this

Well, the funeral yesterday was pretty dreary, as funerals go.  I alternated between waves of disgust, anger, and sadness.  As I mentioned previously, it was in a Catholic church, so that was the main problem.  And there was this woman playing the organ and singing throughout the service, and as my mom remarked afterwards, she sounded so tacky.  (and my mom isn't one to make pronouncements such as that very often). There was hardly anything about Claudette, Mikes' mom--who she was, what made her happy, nothing like that.  But at least I got to talk to Mike at the reception afterwards.  He really wants me to come over to their house and jam sometime!  I'll have to do that--it would be fun.  I also saw some other people there that I hadn't seen in years, so that was nice too.  There was a mutual friend of ours named Tom who was there (my brother and Mike and I lived with him and another woman for a couple of summers in Burlington, back in the late '80s/early '90s), and it had been a long time since I last saw him.  He had a stroke a few years ago (I think he's just in his late 40s), so it was really fascinating to talk to him.  He speaks pretty slowly, and he talked about everything that happened in the past using the present tense.  He told me that he hears everything like he did before, but he just can't respond to it in the same way.  He used the word "weird" a lot to describe the experience.  I'm sure it has been pretty weird for him.  But I think he's recovered pretty well, and he seemed to be in good spirits.

After that, I went up to Montréal to spend some time in the studio.  It was a good session.  I was thinking very lucidly, and having a good time. Just trying to tie things together, all the disparate elements of my life.  Ever since I sent that artist statement to you, I've been thinking a lot about the things that truly interest me (the "real" "me"), & how I want to present myself to the world (or at least the art world--maybe the two are interchangeable).  I think if I could somehow combine humor, music, and art-making, it would probably be the most real or honest representation of who I am and what I care about, and what I think about life and the the world in which we live.  Last night, while I was in the studio, I was taking pieces of that brown paper and putting it in the big box that I've made, while listening to music.  So then I was thinking about doing a performance in which I'm dressed in a suit and tie, with slicked-back hair (so, trying to look like the antithesis of the artist), and having the big box and a big pile of the brown paper, and just slowly filling the box with the paper, while a soundtrack plays.  I'm pretty sure it's a commentary on a bunch of different things, but I just haven't worked that part out yet.

Time to go make dinner!  Hope all is well with you.