Another in a series of anothers. One more in a series of plus ones. Added to the sixteen before it, a drawing. The last? Why dither. Into the gallery, or a way of saying “art porch.” Peculiar forms cystic, yellowed diaper hooked (accidentally?), bent toe, bulbous pads where arms and legs bend, are they knees, who can say?, or are they elbows. Nice eyelashes. Nice nostril spirals. Nice lips. Nice neckfolds. Eh. Fangs and other gray teeth, patterned blemishes whose patterns because they are patterns hint at everything is as it should be, shadow cast against a brick-brushed backdrop, all at risk of meaninglessness but for the eyes fixated on what beyond the frame, but for identification, but for light, but for the quickest of knowledges synapsed and synapsing ocularly.
A week ago Thursday we stopped through the closing reception of a show at the
Delavan Art Gallery here
in Syracuse. Hadn’t been to the gallery before, but several pieces produced by our
friend (and former neighbor), Amy Bartell, were on display (some of it by such
enigmatic and inventive techniques I can’t get my mind off of it). I don’t have a
program with me now, and I couldn’t find the exact title for her exhibit online,
but I think it was called "Archeological Memoir." Basically, she works with
various materials (impressions, overlays, exposure, stamping) to layer together
what I would describe as ‘geographic impressions.’ They’re not
impressionist, in the sense of that tradition; rather they involve the plying
(layering, doubling over, folding and folding) of found things (symbols and
materials)–a sandwiching effect by which their pressed-ness amplifies the deep
entanglement of place, object, and spatial imagination. I was struck by the
collection because it resonated conceptually with some of the stuff you would
find in Harmon’s You Are Here and at
Strange Maps. This it to say it
hooked into the same way-finding attitude or manner I continue to find
tremendously appealing. But the pieces were also detailed and varied–as
pastiche: almost imaginary maps, almost documentary,
almost autobiography. Digital versions of two of the pieces are online–Travelogue
and Your Call
Cannot Be Completed At This Time–but the entire exhibit is worth
experiencing in its entirety, and because she does at least one show each year,
there is a decent chance of catching it again in Central New York.
Geoffrey. English Composition as a Happening. Logan, Utah: Utah
State University Press, 2002.
The open gallery introduces variation–a lift!–to the withering paces of the
semester. I’d never tried anything quite like it before, and to be honest,
even though I listed it on the course schedule for WRT302, I considered a
reversal of plans right up until two days before. The open gallery
emphasizes circulation, conversation; whatever the compositional pieces,
there’s a gathering, music, movement, laughter. A lightness.