Diary of the Plague Year: Day 8 24 March 2020: Tattered Shreds of Light

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An ongoing series of drawings. The title is from a poem by Nazim Hikmet.

Title:          Tattered Shreds of Light (nine drawings in series)

Medium:     Soluble and non-soluble coloured pencil on BFK Rives paper

Size:           56.5 cms x 76 cms

Date:          2019

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 8 24 March 2020: more from The Black Notebook; The final page …. Matisse

‘On the contrary, if you lose your nerve and stop working, you justify your detractors and compromise your own future … All you have to do is work. If you’re in trouble, it’s through work that you will get out of it. If you know clearly where you’re going, if your ideas are solidly based, it’s through work that you will make them succeed.”

Letter, 1906
Matisse to Henri Manguin

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 8 24 March 2020: more from The Black Notebook; Gaston Bachelard

“And all the spaces of our past moments of solitude, the spaces in which we have suffered from solitude, enjoyed, desired and compromised solitude, remain indelible within us, and precisely because the human being wants them to remain so. He knows instinctively that this space identified with his solitude is creative; that even when it is expunged from the present, when henceforth, it is alien to all the promises of the future even when we no longer have a garret, when the attic room is lost and gone, there remains the fact that we once loved a garret, once lived in an attic. We return to them in our night dreams. These retreats have the value of a shell. And when we reach the very ends of the labyrinths of sleep, when we attain the regions of deep slumber, we may perhaps experience a type of repose that is pre-human, pre-human in this case, approaching the immemorial. But in the daydream itself, the recollection of moments of confined, simple, shut-in space are experiences of heartwarming space, of a space that does not seek to become extended but would like above all still to be possessed. In the past, the attic may have seemed cold in winter and hot in summer. Now, however in memory recaptured through daydreams, is is hard to say through what syncretism the attic is at once small and large, warm and cool, always comforting.”

from The Poetics of Space
Gaston Bachelard

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 8 24 March 2020: more from The Black Notebook; Barnett Newman

‘The driving force of modern painting has been to change, to reconstitute the painting medium from a photographic technique of realistic rendering into a medium of pure expression. Modern painting is an attempt to change painting into a poetic language, to make pigment expressive rather than representational.

It is in poetry that the problem of handling a realistic tool, a tool that permits of realism without being realistic, has been solved. In music, the pure abstract element of tone has made it easy. Sometimes attempts have been made in music to imitate naturalistic sounds, but those attempts are unnatural and not very usual. It is easier and more natural for music to deliver its message, to present its concepts, in terms of the abstract nature of notes of sound. In music there never is an attempt to relate sound to any conventional prejudice, or natural sound, whereas in literature and in painting it is natural for us to associate the word or the painted object with the thing in nature, to combine its evocative nature with its appearance. In poetry, however, the element of music contained in it has permitted the artist to approach the abstract handling of the language usual in music, so that we have learned to react to the words themselves. The whole drive of poetry, therefore, and in recent times of painting and prose, has been in the direction of music, to divorce the languages of literature and of painting from the conforming dichotomy of meaning inherent in their media so that they would function purely and abstractly in the manner of musical notes.

…since the important truth underlying the creation of any art form and determining any style concerns man’s relation not with the universe but with himself.

Selected Writings and Interviews
Barnett Newman




A Diary of the Plague Year: Day 8 24 March 2020: from The Black Notebook

From the notebook:

Mono no aware
Japanese – “the appreciation of the melancholy transience of the world”

Exhibition with Shelley Found Object– glimpses, residue, time passing, history, silence, enigma.

“The Soul is in the Skin”
Jacques Rivette, film  Jean Renoir, Le Patron.

“Chaos must shimmer through the veil of order”
Novalis from Alfred Brendel The Veil of Order.

“He, first of occidentals, has explored the infinite ranges of tones that lie wrapped about the central core of greys. His grays themselves pulsate with imprisoned colours. Years ago I had said of the old Chinese school of coloring, that it conceived of colour as a flower growing out of a soil of greys. But in European art I have seen this thought exemplified only in the work of Whistler.”

Ernest Fellhorn (Orientalist)