Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jim Morphesis, skull study

Las gentes cruzan el mundo en la actualidad sin apenas recordar que poseen un cuerpo y en el la yida- really roughly translated- People cross the world in actuality, reality, barely able to recall that they posses a body and in that body, life. I came across this posting in the site of a good friend, Elenor Greer

So appropriate. Last night I went to a lecture of LA artist Jim Morphesis. I first met Jim in the mid eighties when he was a visiting professor at Claremont Graduate University. I studied with him for a year. He had a profound impact on my practice. At the time he was one of a small group of artists, including David Amico and Merion Estes, that were revitalizing painting in the 80's Los Angeles art scene. It was a time of "cool", "slick" and "reserve". It was one of the times of the "death of painting" and Jim Morphesis had dug up the bones and he was making them dance. And they still do.
Last night I was struck again by physicality of Jim's work. Of the urgency of it, by the sensuality of the surfaces, the marks. He demands that you recognize the body; the body of the painting and as that body demands its recognition you are acutely aware of your own body. The works scrape along, scratch along, slip and lick along.
They are wet from secretions both of pleasure and waste. They work like a Baudelaire poem, "... I remember! I saw everything - flower, spring, furrow- swoon under its eye, throbbing like a heart ... smell of the tomb in the swirling dark, and my timid foot bruising, at the edge of the swamp..." 
So stinking romantic, and yet so very tasty. 

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