Poets Vs. Painters

Poets Vs. Painters

Here is the list of books on my Poets Vs. Painters wall that I discussed today with Sharon Butler on her Two Coats Conversation podcast.


Painters Vs Poets (the painters are winning here)

Lisa Yuskavage – catalogue Christopher Grimes Gallery, 1996
Amy Sillman – Visiting Artist, zine, undated, probably 2005
Susan Rothenberg – Paintings 1998 – 2002 catalogue, Sperone Westwater, 2002
Amy Sillman – Faux Pas, Selected Writings and Drawings, 2020
Judy Glantzman – Dressing for the Carnival, catalogue Sept 9-Oct 2017, Betty Cunningham Gallery
Judy Glantzman – 1979- TODAY, catalogue Nov 29, 2018-Jan 13 2019, Betty Cunningham Gallery
Cecily Brown – “Where, When, How Often and with Whom”, 2019
Gerhard Richter – The Daily Practice of Painting, 1995
Inside the Painter’s Studio – Joe Fig (includes his dioramas of the studios), 2009
Chantal Joffe – catalogue from ‘Night Self-Portraits,’ Cheim & Reid, 2015
Art London: A Guide to Places, Events and Artists – Hettie Judah, 2019
Ishbel Myerscough – catalogue from ‘Life’, Flowers Gallery, 2011

*runners up:
Philip Guston, Mamma Andersson, Deborah Brown, Elizabeth Murray, Cy Twombly, Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Pierre Bonnard, Andrea Zittel, Alice Neel, Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Kiki Smith, Margaret Kilgallen, Laura Splan

Adélia Prado – The Alphabet in the Park: Selected Poems (Translation by Ellen Watson), 1990
IIlya Kaminsky – it’s the soul that’s erotic, an essay on Adélia Prado, 2017
Adélia Prado – Ex-Voto – Poems by Adélia Prado – (Translation by Ellen Watson), 2013
Lunch Poems – Frank O’Hara, (City Lights), 1964
Antonio Machado – Times Alone (Translation by Robert Bly), 1983
In Memory of My Feelings: Frank Ohara and American Art – catalogue of exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, July 11-November 14, 1999, 1999
Musa McKim – Alone With The Moon, Selected Writings,(with drawings by Musa McKim & Philip Guston), 1994
Stanley Kunitz – The Wild Braid with Genine Lentine, A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden, 2005
Frank O’Hara – The Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara – Edited by Donald Allen, 1974
W.S. Merwin – Garden Time, 2016
W.S. Merwin – The Essential W.S. Merwin – (Edited by Michael Wiegers), 2017
Matthea Harvey – Modern Life, 2007
Matthea Harvey – Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form, 2002
Matthea Harvey – Sad Little Breathing Machine: Poems, 2004
Cooper Hewitt Museum – Kitsch to Corbusier, Wallpapers From the 1950s catalogue, 1995
(as I consider wallpaper eye poetry)
William Carlos Williams – Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems. 1967
Maged Zaher – Thank You for the Window Office, 2012
Howard W. Robertson – Ode to certain interstates and Other Poems, 2003
Lisa Robertson – Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture,
Cooper- Hewitt Museum – Rooms with a View: Landscape & Wallpaper catalogue, 2001
The KGB Bar – The KGB Bar Reader, edited by Ken Foster, 1998
The KGB Bar – Book of Poems, edited by David Lehman & Star Black, 2000
Rainer Maria Rilke – The Inner Sky, translated by Damion Searls, 2010

*runners up:
Elise Asher, Philip Larkin, Molly Peacock, Tracy K. Smith, Nayyirah Waheed, Ann Lauterbach, Martha Hollander, Raymond Carver, Kevin Pilkington

***By no means an exhaustive list, but what I considered favorites the day the walls were assembled.
***Many, many other art books exist in the space that are not included.
***I do not by any means consider myself an authority on poetry, more of a “I like this one just because“, mostly writing that seems accessible.

Tiny Tortures
oil enamel and oil on canvas
72″ x 60″

Thinking a lot lately of when I first fell in love with painting and gathering up my heroes from that time. I’m certain Matisse’s The Red Studio was a heavy influence here. Also thinking about trying to find the beauty in the everyday, which is what those lovely French painters  Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard strove for, as well as my beloved Bay Area Figurative artists such as David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff and Wayne Thiebaud AND Joan Brown AND Elizabeth Murray.

This painting was about the panic of mice living in my apartment at the time. I just realized I posted about it previously in 2015.


War Hawks

War Hawks (Ken’s Dream)
charcoal and pastel on paper
(Drawing with Ken Cory)

This past December, in some effort of tidying up messes I digitized 35 years of 35mm slides.  It’s an ongoing organizational shamble but also a pile of joy. Lots of imagery I haven’t thought about for a long time. There is always a conflict I guess of divulging stuff from years ago that is still important to you, like you are supposed to abandon ship on your old ideas?

I’ve  maintained an ongoing dilemma that all of the work could be important because it is diaristic, so it becomes hard  to parse out the good with the bad as far as “you shouldn’t be mentioned” and “you are the best”. Sure, a lot of it is cringe worthy but because it represents a specific place in time I feel protective of it. Time has marched on but I  still have a compulsion to think about it.

This drawing War Hawks in particular I hadn’t seen for years. The original is long gone, but I kept thinking about it. Ken Cory was my metalsmithing professor when I was an student at Central Washington University and one of those solid supports I wish I’d had more of  in my future. A real character. Memory serves that he told me about a dream he had about us flying fighter planes that I went on to illustrate in this drawing. He’s the fighter pilot in the top plane of the drawing and that is me in the pink fighter jet. Honestly the whole thing is pretty ridiculous in the most awesome way. In hindsight I’m interested in it now (outside of a fond memory for Cory) due to the coincidence that I am using plane imagery in my current work again for completely different reasons.

Ken Cory was a hilarious person and a clear influence on me. Known for creating “an atmosphere completely lacking in pretense or convention”, I wish at the time I had taken things a little more seriously. I loved his class but I wanted to spend all of my existence in the painting studio. Subsequently to pass his class I stayed up all night the last evening of the term super gluing my projects together rather than learning any true metalsmithing techniques. He never said if he caught on. The silliness of the drawing War Hawks indicates what kind of dialog he had going on between all of us.

Rest in peace Professor Ken Cory who passed away in 1994 at the incredibly far too young age of 50. I wish I’d had more like you in my life.

It gave me such a thrill to open a metalsmithing drawer at the Tacoma Art Museum the last time I was there and to find his legacy lives on in his work which is now part of their collection.

Ken Cory was an iconoclast, punster, collector, and extraordinary jewelrymaker and metalsmith. Participating in the California funk art scene of the 1960s, then teaching more than 20 years in Washington State, Cory (1943-1994) was one of the artistic forces who propelled the Pacific Northwest to the forefront of contemporary jewelry.”

Thanks Ken.

PS I now obviously can’t help but think of Hopper’s Nighthawks when I review the title here, but I seriously doubt that was on my radar at the time.

What to do with old work?


I have been sifting through the stacks that have piled of old work. What to do with it?

I have some really large drawings that I did in after living in NYC for 3 or 4 years. I had become obsessed with nature, feeling particularly deprived. I did these large charcoal drawings of bird houses- at human scale. I only showed them once, at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis. So I think I still like them-they’ve been rolled up in a tube since- moved from one storage place to another.
After that wall space or floor space to produce work at that scale was non-existent as I closed that studio making tiny panel paintings in a small corner of the apartment.
Should the drawings languish?

Sometimes I hold on to old work just as a reminder of what the hell was I thinking or on the flip side the piles of life drawings from this era remind me I wasn’t totally stagnant. Other times I just get rid of stuff I really hate-or in practical moments I’ve turned large panels (actually hollow doors) over and used them as worktables.

Cleaning up the studio-these are the times I envy writers or those that follow less “thing oriented”, conceptual work. To those that can place their entire life’s work on a CD or just cart around a laptop, I am envious. Us painters and drummers hauling around all that stuff- then just add a little turpentine to the responsibility. For gods sake, I won’t even go into the needs of sculptors. I live with one who hung up his sculpture hat and always threatens to take a load to the dump. No! I say.
Still one wonders the burden of these things we make.

Things to not think of in the studio:

Artists are often concerned with the archival quality of their work, yet museum storerooms continue fill up with unseen works and landfills pile high with discarded work. As a young retail clerk in an art supply store I remember being pointedly amused by people buying shopping carts of acrylic paint and stacks of foam core only to tell me at check out to “save the bag— to save a tree”.