THE BEAUTY OF SEDUCTION

 
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My work explores the potential for Mutually. Assured. Seduction.

I’ve flipped this sentence over in my mind so many times it feels like the pins and needles of a limb that’s fallen asleep — dull yet tingly under the weight of its distracted owner.

The phrase came one day lying on the floor after a hard workout. Since then, I’ve whispered it to myself as I lie awake at night. I’ve said it aloud, with purpose and velocity, to no one in particular. I’ve inspected it’s rhythm and resonance to feel how I feel as the words float out of my face’s lips and into the air.

I don’t exactly know where it came from but I’ve become so attached to the words that I can no longer feel their boundaries. Where do I begin, where do they end? I want to know.

Of this, I am certain: I am obsessed with seduction — as an idea, an act, an object, a promise, a threat, and a game.

Somewhere along the way, I began to recognize that my time in the studio (and my life?) can be reduced, quite plainly, to an exercise in seduction. And while it’s not exclusive to creatives, I’m sure it’s a common tie that binds making anything at all. I’m getting to something, scouring scientific papers trying to work it out:

The “art of pleasure” requires a careful plan of behavior, which has communicative relevance, and simultaneously must be able to elicit an emotional response. If it can provoke not only an interest, but also attraction, then it can create or increase a feeling of desire or need.

To seduce, to attract, to be led along, quite simply, “somewhere else.” Heart over mind and conversely, or, better still, passion bound with knowing one another… Sensual involvement.

And of it’s inherent reciprocal nature …if the seductive game is to be effective then it must involve a degree of flexibility that of being able to harmonize and synchronize with the partner. Every move must be carried out and evaluated according to the partner’s response.

What are we if we aren’t slow dancing, intensely, with another human?

Even if I am convinced that I’m making art for myself — producing the kinds of things I want to exist in the world — it’s impossible to deny the fact that I’m still making this for you too, whoever you are.

And what turns you on and how can I make you desire and need what I have? And isn’t what I have, in essence, what I am, ultimately, turning myself inside out and putting myself on display as the object of desire? And is what I have to offer intoxicating enough to create a meaningful connection to you without betraying what is real and honest in me?

The realization that the work I create is a mutual exchange with you — that I desire your quickening pulse and a shift in your face as your eyes dilate. That I want the surface of you to come alive, to reverberate, to know that you are receiving my signal. That I need you at all…

A friend recently gave me a book written in celebration of the desert, understanding that I’ve recently developed a torrid fascination with the desert or, more specifically, the idea of myself in the desert. I want to thrive here. I want to shrivel up in the white hot light of here. I want to make the loudest noises here and I want to make no noise at all here. The book is aptly named, “Because It Is So Beautiful” and speaks to the love of place, or topophilia. (Note: I make a part-time job of looking words up and the double meaning of torrid was an accident but then there really are no accidents, are there? See for yourself.)

So now when I ask myself why I am doing any of this, especially when it’s hard to do and there are so many other worthy, worthwhile things that come naturally to me, the answer is and will be, forever and ever, because it is so beautiful.

Because when a certain mark or shape or brush stroke exits my body and lands on a surface and the sight of it makes me weak… When a pool of pigment is so lucid that I can hardly believe the power to orchestrate its arrangement was ever in me at all… That it’s possible that there is beauty sliding around inside of me — that my guts and liver and blood could be so beautiful.

And, what’s more, that even if the marks and shapes and strokes fail to resonate, my white, hot, burning desire for them remains. And the seduction of that, too, is beautiful and that is all and that is everything. In turn, Siri Hustvedt offers “A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women:”

“Searching, meeting, seduction, rejection, and retreat evokes ongoing rhythmic narrative of our undying physical need for other human beings, a need that is forever impeded by obstacles, both internal and external... reminiscent of dreams, and by their nature dreams are more emotional than waking life... often erotic and destructive pulse of human desire...”

I temporarily lean on this as a statement for my work — an undying physical need for other human beings, akin to an erotic dream and potentially destructive, that I’m attempting to process through multiple prisms: Manipulation. Order. Control. Progress. Self-Improvement. Desire. Attachment. Work. Survival.

Each of these touchstones is a sidelong glance accompanied by a distinct, but related, body of work. Work that I intend to mount and exhibit at the end of the year, sink or swim. An audacious goal, I am relying on the depth and intensity of a lifetime practice and deference for making to get me there. Focus and grit with a dash of hustle. Combined with a newly discovered connection to materials from the natural world: Just pick up a stone and let your body make a mark with it because it is so beautiful.

And I’m beginning to recognize these impulses for the proverbial ‘carvings on the cave wall’ that they are. That scratching of “I Was Here,” no better or different than running my nails down your back.

Yet, what I could possibly have to say is of far less significance than the fact that I’m right here, right now, standing before you to say it. That I didn’t let the immensity of the wall, or the darkness of the cave, frighten me back into a corner. Instead, I was seduced into the white hot sun, the earth in my hands, to make my mark.

Because I was here.

Because I am here.

And so are you.

And together we are so, so beautiful.

The Lab

A selection of drawings and paintings is currently on display at The Lab, the newest creative hub in Charlotte, NC’s funky Plaza Midwood neighborhood. The work is on view through the new year and can also be purchased through the drawing and painting sections of my online shop.

 

 

Nov 2, 2018 – Jan 9, 2019

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY   /  1600 Fulton Ave, Ste 120, CLT

 

 
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Top: I Melt Back Into Waves, Above: Installation view, Below: Sacred + Alone

An excerpt from my New Mexico series, the work continues to explore a real and persistent preoccupation with desire, order, progress and work.
 
 
 

Above: Sending and Receiving

The Test

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After playing with the mineral, plant and insect pigments from the Sacred Valley region of Peru, it was time for me to find, forage or fix my own natural sources.

Though the resulting watercolor set was as lively as any painter could hope for, the restrained palette in my studio these days urged me to see what I could coax into being, firsthand.

 
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Above: Surprising “chocolate rose” color from avocados, Below: Acorn tips + rust = a silvery grey ink

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After several weeks of deep internet dives plus a plethora of ink, dye and foraging books, the good news was that much of what I needed could easily be found in our kitchen, backyard or surrounding neighborhood. The bad? Well, it hurts my head and heart to imagine how I could have missed the obvious inclination to craft my own inks and paints?

I created Batch as a portal for exploring other ecosystems and cultures in hopes of discovering some new and weird things about their connection to my own life / body / planet. And I am proud of the work that I’ve produced over these last couple years — especially after decades of a stagnating personal practice — and I can clearly see my trajectory ascending… There is much to be grateful for.

So what took so long?

Above: Copper + vinegar + salt + oxygen + time

 

 

As I commit to a life of intention, one that treads lightly upon the Earth and chooses not to harm any creatures in the process, I’ve begun pulling on the proverbial string that Muir so eloquently reminds us, is tied to everything else in the Universe.

Over the last couple years, I have repeatedly challenged myself by asking “What’s enough"?” and “Why not now?” This has brought a clarity into my practice, making it ever more apparent that I am engaged in a very ‘journey vs destination’ pursuit.

For me, the acts of attention and tending, often the nature of deconstruction, are paramount to the act of making.

Crafting and curating my own materials — ink, paint, paper — is not only in service of the art but, in many ways, is the art. A proposition that shone so brightly, the very elegance of it’s simplicity was too bright to recognize.

With this newfound awareness, I quiet my mind. I am eternally reminded that Mother Nature said it first and said it best. Humble AF.

My job now is to listen, with diligence, and share, with generosity, all that I am learning…

 

 
 
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Sacred Color

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After communing in the desert with the joyous Jyl Marie (of The Yoga of Chocolate) during the magical Mujeres Milagros “Women in Chocolate” retreat, I was delighted to receive several unexpected gifts from her over the course of the following months.

One delivery in particular held a string of tiny bags filled with what I assumed were some type of ground pigments?

Indeed, mineral, plant and insect pigments (sorry, bugs, I’m going to assume you had already passed) — found and foraged — around the Sacred Valley region of Peru.

 
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{ Above: Same pigment before & after grinding }

Unbeknownst to me at the time — but apparently not to Jyl’s fully cultivated, super senses — this inevitable set of vibrant pigments would provide the impetus for making my very own inks and paints.

 
 
 

 

These days, I walk about with pseudo-science books in hand and a renewed fascination for all things Mother Nature. You have my permission to imagine me as a middle school chemistry nerd with a dash of tomb raider.

My fully cultivated sense of curiosity and perseverance (thanks, cacao!) intact, I’m slowly working on batches of ink and paints inspired by, and of, the land upon which I roam.

As always, stay tuned for test Batch updates as my art studio is transformed via all things alchemy…

 

 
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On View

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A collection of my latest drawings and paintings is on display at Hodges Taylor in Charlotte, NC through April 2018. The installation, “Planning for Mutually Assured Seduction,” is part of an ongoing series that explores a real and persistent preoccupation with desire, order, progress and work.

“Planning” is on view alongside select gallery artists and will open in conjunction with a featured exhibition from Louisiana-based sculptor, Kevin Kennedy.

 

 
 
 

Opening Reception Feb 2 from 6–8pm

HODGES TAYLOR   /  118 East Kingston Ave, Ste 16, CLT

 

 
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Art, Party

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A collection of my latest, New Mexico-inspired drawings and paintings will make their debut at a two-day exhibition hosted at Gallery 5 (above) in Old Town, Rock Hill this November. For those of you not interested in torturous suspense, follow along on Instagram as I continue to post sneak peeks in the coming weeks.

 
 
 

 
 
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Admission to the sale is free and open to the public

Fri, Nov 17 + Sat, Nov 18 / 11am–7pm
131 E Main St, Rock Hill, SC

 

 

The new series will be displayed alongside work from accomplished painters Harriet Marshall Goode and Tom Stanley. In addition to impressive careers as working artists, both Harriet and Tom are steadfast arts advocates. The holiday sale will be a perfect opportunity to add work from these significant artists to your collection.

 

 
 
 

The holiday sale will be part of Old Town’s 2nd Annual Art Party, a 3-day celebration of visual and performing arts in South Carolina’s first state-recognized cultural district. From November 16–18, local and regional artists will showcase their work at locations throughout Old Town Rock Hill, SC including a juried exhibition, open artist studios, a special performance by XOXO plus workshops and seminars.

 

 

Not Even Evanescence

 
This Woman’s Work   GOLD LEAF + CHARCOAL ON PAPER  11 X 14 IN

This Woman’s Work

GOLD LEAF + CHARCOAL ON PAPER

11 X 14 IN


 

Feels like I’m storm-chasing

caging beauty before it escapes,

watching precious flakes of metal

get swept away 

like fireflies on the breeze.

 

But I know, now, that nothing eludes

nothing evades.

 

Not the essential,

the essence,

not even evanescence.

 

It’s inside

of me

awaiting

a kind of palace.