Monday, May 19, 2014


Far from Palantine Hill
   where eventually it will be re-instated,
this statue of Apollo for the present
  lies prone in Hermippos' workshop.
Derricks and a broad-wheeled cart
  drawn by six horses were required to haul it,
it  was a feat of engineering.
 to tilt it onto its straw bed
Now the surgery can begin
  after prayers that no hidden vein in the marble
    will cause a fracture
   at the incision around the neck.
Then, if skill and calculation
   are rewarded with luck,
  the ponderous head will fall,
to be replaced by another:
 the portrait bust , already prepared, of Gaius
affectionately known as Caligula.
To whom the senate accords divine  status
    by an unanimous vote,
offering this statue as tribute
in  the hope of a new Parnassus.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


One of my on-going preoccupations is how to  make an image--or images which are visual equivalents to
musical counterpoint.  Obviously, there is no actual equivalent. Even musical notion is in some sense a metaphor for what is heard. Never-the-less, it stimulates me to attempt a visual metaphor for a fugue from THE ART OF THE FUGUE, as it did for painters as different as Braque and Klee before me. 

My paintings on layers of aluminum screen were conceived with this in mind. They also were simultaneously enquiries into the means  of depicting of motion.. Much, much later, it occurred to me that I might "transistorize" this problem in a different way on paper. Hence these drawings.  

 They began as pictograms on grids.  This would be layer one. Over these larger figures were drawn. This would be layer two. The addition of color --mostly on the grid pictograms but occasionally over as another
composition entirely--would act as the third contrapuntal " line". In many cases the "pictograms" in the "grids" are reversed or altered in some significant way.
 A grid will consist of eighty eight to a hundred pictograms.  The second layer of larger pictograms will
range from thirty two to forty images.The viewer therefore will be seeing the former through the latter, the grid images through the larger. It creates a kind of idioretinal shimmer.
In some cases I have done four layers of drawing images, of which this is one.
Or  used color "kaleidoscopically", to imply a fourth layer, as here.

This, and the drawing below, attempt to impose a "chordal" structure over the first and second series of pictographic images. 

I must add that these are studies for much larger outdoor pieces.  Also, that--in addition to western counterpoint, they also reflect my interest in polychrome Islamic prayer niches, and Oscar Niemeyer's. quasi Aztec quasi Mayan mosaics in Brasilia. But a work of art does not come from one place, but many, and may be said to be a matter of convergence as much as of essence. Or so I  think today. 
(these drawings were done in the summer of  2012)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


What I wondered was how your flower
  might be recognized among the others
   in Elysium towards the gates of Dis.
The light was pale,
    compounding dawn and twilight,
a haze made immaterial
    the hillside banked with myrtle and oxalis.
A stream ran there,
  thin tributary to Lethe
  forbidden to the living to drink.
I knew I'd never find you if I tarried
   but searched the windless banks beside the stream.
There, at a meander,
  grew a leafless tree and beside it
the rosebush half submerged in bramble.
Such a sense of hindrance
  under the heavy sunlight slowed my progress
  that I wondered if I'd ever reach my goal.
Do not pluck me
   said the rose upon the rosebush
  What you see is not a guidepost  for the living
  but a memory awaiting  a second death
Let me put my root downwards  into Lethe
  in Elysium towards the gates of Dis.
A wind began to blow.
  I watched as the last petals
   fell away; some scattered downstream.
Euridice is not retrieved to daylight, and Isaac
    is sacrificed time and again.

Monday, May 5, 2014


 These studies were done before the "Baroque Mirror" and the "Black Window" on order to see  test the compositional use of lace. I was very  enamored with flat black versus gloss white, so I saturated masonite with black gesso, and sprayed white gloss enamel through lace upon it; then I painted over this again. In the first I used an emerald green sign painter's enamel.
In the second, I retouched the image with gloss black enamel.

 In the third , I sprayed gloss black over gloss white.
The final study employed a calligraphic brush stroke in brilliant blue enamel over gloss white and gloss black. 
I was aiming  for the effect of an after-image, or a photographic negative, or a ghost.(1994)

Thursday, May 1, 2014


What I hoped to achieve with these small pieces was an
infinite shimmer between "letters of the alphabet" and the "text", much as calligraphy and pattern blur together in an Islamic Mirhab, or Prayer Niche. . Originally, I wanted to make these into a scroll  from left to right but it occurred to me that a similar effect might be done from up to down, as is done on this page. Most of these were done in the winter of 2009--2010, but I tossed out more now and then. At one time I went through a Kufic calligraphy derived period, at another something quasi-Aztec. They were begun as a divertissement and then I became fascinating with the notion that no two  pictograms or any page of drawings might be the same.
(I would like to obliterate the margins which blogger puts between these images, so that one drawing might blend into another but alas this can not be done)

  Originally, they were meant as a kind of  memory of the dance floor at the Paradise Garage, and the use of pictograms as a  nod to the late Keith Haring, who I often saw there. There was also a sense of biding adieu to the "lovers of the dance floor"--those charged semi-encounters with perfect strangers known and not known.There was also that sense of the variety of humanity, the belief that each human note has a purpose in the larger whole--it would come over me often in the subway, of all places.

  I also recall a moment in the midst of a bicycle marathon involving ten thousand people which I participated in--the cyclists suddenly seemed synathestically  identified  for me as  the  G major Brandenburg concerto, in a celestial/terrestial dance with God.. Consequently, each pictogram was done as a prayer for all sentient beings.( I am not at all sure of the efficacy of such prayers except to say that is is harder to lose one's temper in traffic  while repeating them than not,and that this may be little but it is something ) 

Mainly,however, I wished to give the oriflammes, sylphs, and salamanders which appear in my earlier drawings a rest. The upshot  is that the pictograms underwent a number of permutations, of which these are  among the earliest types. They were however preceded by a large group of drawings using pictograms on grids. 
There are twenty individual drawings  on this page. The actual size of each drawing is 6" x 8 "/ there are between 300 and 350 pictograms per page, which means there are
6,000 pictograms on this page by the most conservative estimate; I have done not quite two hundred of these drawings.