The Final Physical Act

#23 – Tuesday August 23rd

The final physical act is signing and dating the canvas. Often the words that accompany a particular piece will have fallen into place by that time, but not always, and I’m still sorting through all the notes I’ve taken for this painting, organizing the language that will be its accompaniment. I don’t take naming my canvasses lightly, and when looking at a painting, I want to say its name, feel its words dance on my tongue, vibrate from my lips, a narrative of sound consorting with what’s before my eyes. For me, painting is an act of passion, a chaotic, irrational, life affirming mess . . . and the words that become the names, must share those histories, whatever path taken.

I’ve been thinking about histories, so I’ve peppered our Netflix que with documentaries. Of those we’ve watched recently, two I thought notable. First, “Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock” a 2006 film by Harry Moses. The film follows Teri Horton, a blue-collar, woman truck driver, in her efforts to have a painting she bought for $5 and thought to be a Jackson Pollock worth millions, authenticated. Featuring a bevy of characters including, museum curators, art forensic experts, gallery owners, and Teri’s own friends and family . . . this is an amazing, over the top, journey through the art world. Is it a real Pollock? That question is never answered, an odd twist that made the film even more entertaining.

The second, is an 18 minute film from director Louis Malle. The 1962 short  “Vive leTour”, chronicles the Tour de France and concentrates on the gruelling experiences of the cyclists, rather than any particular rider or who won the race. A favorite scene shows riders raiding restaurants for food and drink (including alcohol), then riding on, jersey pockets stuffed to overflowing. I love watching the tour, and have been known to watch many, many cycling videos .  . . and can be a bit jaded with cycling on film, when poorly produced . . . but  “Vive leTour” was a total enjoyment and I would highly recommended it to any cycling enthusiast. From Netflix, this film is presented along with 2 other of Malle’s documentaries on one DVD, “Humain, Trop Humain” and “Place de la Republique”. “Vive leTour” is also available on YouTube as a two-part video.

Tuesday’s tunes? Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. The band has been around since ’07, but I first heard them while trolling around NPR’s all songs considered. I listened to a song off their new album, “Marble Son” and the guitar work sounded reminiscent of Jorma Kaukonen’s work with Jefferson Airplane on “Surrealistic Pillow” and “Crown of Creation”. (Both albums were in heavy rotation on my turntable!) Anyway I downloaded the entire “Marble Son” CD and I’m glad I did. Phil Wandscher’s guitar work is a delight. Jesse Sykes has a lovely plaintive voice (much like  Marianne Faithful on “Strange Weather” ) invoking a perfect mood for my late night painting sessions.

Thanks for reading.