Black Ink

Several people asked me about relationships between the ink drawings in Time and Attention and the prints. Many of the drawings were made during a period when I was working on images for Richard Loranger’s book Poems for Teeth.  Working with black ink and a brush, a drawing either coalesces or goes wrong. No reworking is really possible, and many are destroyed. One commits to a mark, uncertain of why, and with luck and grace, something emerges, vivid and surprising. Monotype, on the other hand (which makes up much of the exhibition) allows endless reworking, and an image can change into another image and yet another over the course of several hours. Still, though, there’s a moment where one has to commit, and run the plate through the press, and, like a gestural ink drawing, the image either coalesces or fails to work, irrevocably. The best images are often transformed by the press and come as a surprise, just as my favorite ink drawings startle me and make me feel like a fortunate spectator in a process I direct, but don’t really comprehend.

MCA Denver as Edifice.

This is part of a piece I wrote for the Invisible Museum’s Eye-Level late last year. The original article compared MCA and Redline as architectural experiences, relating their design choices to their very different missions. That particular issue of Eye Level never came out, and at this point, I might as well put some text up to share. Here’s the part on Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art:


To a drive-by glance, Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is a massive block of dark glass with several overhanging elements, broad angular articulations, and rectilinear protuberances, striking in a neighborhood of older structures.  If one pauses, one immediately notices a clear panel, off-center in the greenish-black grid of panes, and a look down the side courtyard on the left reveals a wood-covered overhanging room, also with a clear window. Cantilevered to hang out over the side “alley,” this prominent feature helps set the tone for a building that signals institutional authority while reveling in its own design quirks.

With modest lettering indicating “MCA DENVER,” a neighbor could easily pass by without realizing that this was a museum. The current exhibitions are listed, but the signs are partially hidden behind the outside wall of an entry tunnel that spans most of the building’s façade. They are also listed vertically, so one needs to tilt one’s head sideways to read them. It’s frankly difficult to perceive this as a warm welcome, and one needs to go down a tunnel and up a ramp if one wants to learn more.  One is greeted by a ticket seller before reaching the top of the ramp, so that one is standing sideways on a significant slope as one considers purchasing admission.  The newcomer seems deliberately thrown off balance, and the cashier is positioned slightly above the nervous art lover. Read more

Things that appear:

Representation may not be the point, exactly, but I often do enjoy it when “pictures” appear. In general, I find that in general, apparently non-objective works tend to begin as deliberate “pictures of something,” while on the other hand, virtually none of the most apparently mimetic works actually began that way. Whatever I try to do, turns into something else, and then I do the best I can to follow it to its destination.