Specters and Fresh Starts

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Yesterday, I took down what remained of this summer’s art installation. It wasn’t much. The paintings had been sold during the few days of the inauguration, so they were gone. The sculptures had apparently started to wilt in the humidity of the Dordogne, so they were gone. I found them clustered together behind the structure like a group of bewildered veterans. Halfway through July, there was a course held that needed to use part of the space, so the fundraising team opened up the installation space by removing half of the paper enclosure. Suffice to say, that was gone.

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I apologize if I sound a bit hard. I don’t mind that art gets old and changes. Yes, there is something bewildering in the fact that a once-dynamic, giving creation can become a pile of rubble. But that’s impermanence for you. And the experiences that people had while the space was complete, and that which the paintings still bring to those who have them now…that goes on for a while.

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Art is about communication, about sharing and creating space for all types of experience and perception. One thing I have left from the exhibition is a beautiful, fat stack of wishes and positive aspirations written by strangers and friends who passed through and felt moved to share.

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I think what’s strange, what gives me pause, is looking at a work of art that, it seems to me, no longer functions. As I was popping the last, tangled paper boxes off their fishing wires, some one came by to ask what I thought of the space opened up. It’s still beautiful, he said. I suppose he’s right. But to me it looks like a ghost. I’d rather it be gone, than lingering half-made. Incomplete work bothers me. Maybe because it reminds of what I could and feel I should be completing. Expired art says, “And what now?”

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Maybe something like this now.

An Introduction, a Departure, and a Unicorn

This is the announcement for my upcoming show, my first solo show in Santa Barbara. Big news! If you are nearby, COME! If you are not nearby, hold your breath for a leetle bit here because once the show goes up, you’ll be able to see photos of it on…my website.

Yes, it’s true. I’ve become a fully-formed being of the digital age. I now exist as a domain in the world wide web in addition to my corporeal form. Hello world. Please meet…

www.jourdieross.com

The Red Bull Seeks Amalthea, 12″ x 16″, ink and acrylic on canvas

Apologies if I seem a bit, as my mother puts it, punchy. I’m running on two hours of sleep. I spent last night finishing paintings and matching lipstick colors to summer dresses. You see, I’m heading off for ten days to a wedding in New York and a short jaunt to Montreal. My show opens three days after I get back and the invitational to which this piece belongs shortly thereafter, so it’s been a bit of a time crunch and sleep (and some modicum of sanity) went by the wayside.

I’m not sure what internet and free time will be like while I’m gallivanting, so you may have radio silence for the next week and a half or so. Consider the above painting my offering. Here’s the context (less punchy as I wrote it earlier); I hope you enjoy musing over it for the next little while here:

The Red Bull Seeks Amalthea is based on a fantasy story I grew up with called The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle (spoiler alert!). Unicorns have mysteriously vanished from the world. The last remaining one sets out to find her fellows and discovers that they have been kidnapped by an avaricious king, driven into the ocean by a powerful beast called the Red Bull, an animal made of fire. A blundering but compassionate magician transforms the unicorn into a woman, Amalthea, in an attempt to hide her from the bull. When the bull realizes that the woman is the unicorn, Amalthea must face her pursuer and choose between her own kind and her love for a human prince. In the end she rescues the unicorns and returns to her original form, the only unicorn to ever feel love and regret. The tale is a beautiful allegory of fear and identity; it can be interpreted as a metaphor for the way our true nature pursues us and the lessons we learn through that venery. The essence of that pursuit is what I aimed for in the painting.

Apricot Tart and Art Interims

Look…food! I know, it’s been a while since I posted any recipes. It’s not because I’ve stopped eating, hehe; it’s just that I’ve been doing a lot more arting than cooking lately.

What with the show coming up in September and a cousin of mine getting married in August, I feel like I have just maybe enough time to do everything I want to between now and then. Lately, my life’s been like this: I paint, and when I’m not painting, I work on my installation piece, and when I’m not working on my installation, I revise my artist statement, and when I’m not revising my artist statement, I build my website (more on that soon!), and when I’m not doing that, I try to breathe.

But once in awhile, I just can’t art anymore, and so I bake. Okay fine, so I occasionally sneak off to the beach– but I read art books when I’m there! In fact, I highly recommend The Diaries of Paul Klee and Extra/Ordinary: Craft and Contemporary Art. Back to my original point: this apricot tart will blow your mind and temporarily float all your worries away with its perfect blend of tangy fruit, creamy interior and crumbly, nutty crust. Apricot season is in full swing here in Southern California; I got these off my generous friends Brian and Carol’s tree. There’s really no comparing imported, grocery store apricots to farm-fresh ones. I highly recommend heading to your local farmer’s market or making a new friend when you drive past a house with an apricot tree in the yard. What better way to seal a friendship than with a gorgeous, scrumptious, home-made dessert?

Recipe after the jump…

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