Saturday morning, just past seven AM, babies still quiet. I’ve got my nice hot cup of Joe and sunflower butter toast. I haven’t written all week; I’ve been working diligently on my GAP Dis-Locations book project. I wanted to finish it in time for our ROOM show. Sometimes I write a sentence and it stumps me, as I wrote “I wanted to finish it for the Room show” so many thoughts passed through my mind. I’ve been working on this book for months, it is the third book originating at my house, two have gone on and have been worked on by other GAP artists, and this one was intended to, but I never got the chance to pass it on. The original book fell apart, I started going overboard. I painted, drew, stitched, poured hot tea on it, taped it all together, tried blow drying it, eventually I realized the binding was shot and there was a possibility of it getting moldy deep inside. I got upset, mad. I tore out all the pages. I thought it was totally ruined. I was upset because it was part of the Dis-Location book series, and some of the pages were looking really good. I thought of re-binding it. I never did the research. I thought of showing it as a “loose book”, but how I wondered? I decided to put these worries away for a while and work on the pages loose. At first I worked on both sides, thinking I would figure out some way to connect the pages. But with the clock ticking I decided to do it the same way I made my abstract paintings book under the guidance of Heather. I bought a blank notebook and tacked down each page. This method gave me the freedom to paint each piece individually and let it dry, I didn’t have to worry about the pages sticking together. I would work on a bunch as I worked on larger paintings. At first I was thinking this book would be part of the DADA show, and the dis-assembled book fit perfectly with the DADA philosophy, but Carl told me one day we weren’t using the books in the DADA show. My book was inspired by a lot of the reading I did on the DADA artists, it was inspired by Carl’s books he has made, and the dis-locations book project.
Once my book fell apart and I had gone through the depression of it all a light bulb turned on. I started really working, connecting with the pages. I was maddened by the book I was re-purposing because it was all about male artists. “The lives of the painters” it was a long time ago; all the paintings were religious or paintings of important people. As I worked I knew I was the opposite of everything the book stood for. A woman painting pure abstraction, chance, experimentation, and spontaneously. Making mistakes and messes that would challenge me to move on, moving through the process. As I worked I kept thinking about the other GAP artists, imagining collaborating with Carl, John, Alvaro, Heather, Verad, and Akiko. Thinking at different moments, “Should I send this to John Crabtree to work on? Then he can send it back” but time went by and with all the other projects we are working on and all the strife I went through during working on the book I was never able to collaborate with any other artists. But is thinking about them and talking to them through the lines and splatters of paint a form of collaboration? Is working on personal pages at home intended for the larger project Dis-Locations a form of collaboration? I felt like it was. But I still needed a reaction to my pages, some form of collaboration, so I decided to collaborate with myself. After I tacked the pages down in my notebook I decided to react to the finished pages on the opposite page. At first I started gluing in pieces of paper and painting and it became a cluster fudge pretty quickly. The book started getting wet again, the pages started to fall out, I started ruining everything again. I started making the same pitfalls as the very beginning. I stopped myself, ripped out all the pages, was surprised by some of the F-ups, I got some super cool effects on a few pages. I dried the book, shored up the binding and went back in using a lot more restraint. I decided to stay as dry as possible, and react to only the pages that called for my reaction. Some I only used drawing, some a tiny bit of watercolor, some a tiny bit of acrylic, and some a piece of collage. I had breakthrough. I made some of the best works of my life. It’s funny because I’ve been working on figurative stuff on the side, things I’m allowed to show on Facebook, while I’ve been working on these secret projects, Dis-Locations and the DADA work. I hadn’t worked on pure abstraction, stream of consciousness in a while. Yesterday when I started finishing up the book I really got back into it, where I had left off a few months ago. It was so natural, so fluid. Some pieces didn’t come out as well as others, but I feel it’s important to show those as well. To show the “Self-Conscious” ones, the flat ones, the ones that just don’t work because that’s all part of the process, and may be the most important part. The beautiful ones, the perfect ones, only leave me in awe, leave me thinking I’m great, but the crappy ones push me. They depress me and make me work hard to “figure it all out”.
The opening night of the Room show is this Tuesday. I can’t wait to see all the work hung together. All the collabs, the individual works, and the Dis-Locations Book Collection that I am hoping can be displayed on a table where visitors can sit and look through the books. The babies are waking now, it’s already eight! But I wanted to write this. I haven’t written all week, I needed to do this. Now I’ll become Mommy again!