State of the Studio (a rebuttal)

My intention in the new year is to be more deliberate and patient in my practice. But, in this moment, I feel hyperaware that my desktop and house are an absolute mess, I’m unrested and over-caffeinated, I pulled something in my back, and I need a shave and a haircut. In the past week, I have been thinking about listening, thanks to John Neff and Roland Barthes, and the way that an artist embodies or performs their work. Barthes was discussing, in part, music that is better to perform than to listen to. It made me reflect on the way my own practice functions as opposed to or in conjunction with its output. One small example is the relief I felt upon realizing that I could raise my arm to paint, despite having had trouble standing and walking because of the back injury. Is that relief present in the work? I have also been thinking about electronic literature, via Abe Avnisan and N Katherine Hayles, and about permanence and storytelling. Nested inside both are questions of coherence and legibility. An issue raised by Barthes that applies to both subjects is that of articulation. He talks about a singer putting too much emphasis on the pronunciation of consonants. He says the truth of language is in vowels. And that, “Articulation functions abusively as a pretense of meaning: claiming to serve meaning, it basically misreads it”. This idea applies to regular conversation for me and more broadly to the idea that successful art is tonal, not specific or message-driven. It speaks back to questions raised about electronic literature in Hayles and about experiential and experimental writing. Thinking about the voice as a physical machine—lungs, diaphragm, throat, mouth, face—and thinking about machines that can produce or store writing, makes me wonder how tone is developed or preserved in a medium like electronic lit that seems choppy or intentionally diffuse in some forms. More directly, this all makes me reflect on my return to realism, itself a type of articulation and indeed something quite contained. I think some experimentation with electronic writing is going to challenge the linearity and specificity I find so attractive

 

That said, here’s my current work in progress

Sandison Montgomery - covergirl - in progress.jpeg