After Vasari

writings on artists and artworks and where they exist

Category: schizzo/sketch

Schizzo: Slackenings

by Paul D'Agostino

Bosco d'inverno, mixed-media drawing on paper, 2014.

Bosco d’inverno, mixed-media drawing on paper, 2014.

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Slackenings

It was still raining a decent bit, but
a thick warm wind began to blow in
from faraway plains,
they say—the very same plains,
they say, that tend rather to send cold and snow
this time of year.

So the air that should’ve been frigid was
moist and sweet;
the raindrops that should’ve been snowflakes
were raindrops.

Seldom are showers and gusts
quite so welcome when arriving in tandem,
but there are times when they’re like gifts
from skies.

There are times when seasons slacken their grip.
There are times when life does the same.

A winter storm will hit hard within days, they say.

But within hours tonight’s breezes and drizzles
will give way to a quiescent, temperate mist.

And the breathing will be good.

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Artwork & text, P. D’Agostino

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* This drawing, Bosco d’inverno, is currently in Sideshow Nation III: Circle the Wagons, a large group exhibit at Sideshow Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on view through 15 March 2015. More information here.

Schizzo: Shores

by Paul D'Agostino

From a series called "Partenze." Mixed-media drawing on card stock.

From a series called “Partenze.” Mixed-media drawing on card stock.

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Shores

Caution, no.
On the side of trust
is where one has often erred.
Where one will continue to err
until skies themselves come slumbering
down, until grounds themselves
yawn wide open.

Count on the sun, meanwhile,
to continue to greet you.
And on the moon, too,
to persist in tugging waves to shores
bearing perils, treasures and
the reliable pleasure of that
pure, familiar noise.

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From a series called "Partenze." Mixed-media drawing on card stock.

From a series called “Partenze.” Mixed-media drawing on card stock.

Artwork & text, P. D’Agostino

Schizzo: Nebulous

by Paul D'Agostino

Nebulous, ink, graphite and gesso on paper, 3" x 8," 2013.

Nebulous, ink, graphite and gesso on paper, 3″ x 8″, 2013.

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Nebulous indeed were the heavens that day.

Nebulous, too, remained the fate of the crew.

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This drawing is part of a group exhibit at Lesley Heller Workspace.
Organized by Adam Simon, the show is called Clouds.
It is up until 26.1.2014. More information here.
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Artwork & text, P. D’Agostino

Schizzo: Save Us in Echoes

by Paul D'Agostino

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Evento ad avvento / Event to Advent, 1-4
Series of polytype monoprints with cross-diminishing palette
Oil on card stock, 2012. Click on one for slideshow of all.

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Save Us in Echoes

It seems to only make sense
to want all at once
all the world’s faiths and gods,
and all the world’s science and reason,
all of the eras and errors that feed them,
all of the fairest and worst of seasons,
and every twilight and every dawn,
and every midnight and every eclipse,
and every storm and every calm,
every cloud and dew and mist,
all of the flora and all of the fauna,
all the balm and all the song,
and every whisper and breath and gasp,
every shout, every cry,
and every word of every knowledge
of every number of all things known.

But we know time to be cloven and brief.
We grieve over griefs that have yet to be sown.

And we’ll never grasp fully
the trees nor the seas.

Uttered words mean nothing
to their echoes.

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Artwork & text, P. D’Agostino

Schizzo: Au delà du rideau

by Paul D'Agostino

Nocturne 6: Les acteurs et le drapeau

Nocturne 6: Les acteurs et le drapeau / The Actors and the Curtain, acrylic and watercolor on paper, mounted to panel, 24″ x 12″, 2012.

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Au delà du rideau

Juste avant de se masquer
pour rentrer en scène
(toujours poudrés, visage et cheveux;
toujours habillé, costume
classique, traditionel)
l’acteur se regarda
un instant dans le miroir
en prenant une petite gorgée d’eau:

“Suis-je, moi-même, convaincu?”
il se demanda.
“Puis-je vraiment, moi-même,
m’oublier?”

Un instant après
il sortit, masqué.
Plus là,
lui-même, son lui-même.

Sa mémoire reste cachée
dans le miroir
quand même.

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Beyond the Curtain

Just before putting on his mask
to take the stage again
(still powdered, his face and hair;
still dressed in classical,
traditional garb)
the actor looked at himself
in the mirror a moment
while taking a sip of water:

“Am I, myself, convinced?”
he asked himself.
“Might I really, myself,
forget myself?”

An instant later
he exited, masked.
No longer there,
he himself, his himself.

His memory still concealed
in the mirror
nonetheless.

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Artwork & texts, P. D’Agostino

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* A number of other paintings from the series Nocturnes, as well as collages, sculptures and drawings from several other bodies of work—the latter also gathered into a book, Floor Translations—are currently featured in Twilit Ensembles, a solo exhibition of my artwork at Pocket Utopia Gallery, located at 191 Henry Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The exhibition is up through 21 April 2013. More information at pocketutopia.com.

 

Schizzo: Diceva sempre che era il suo preferito

by Paul D'Agostino

Diceva sempre che era il suo preferito / She Always Said It Was Her Favorite (detail), oil on panel & secondary panel, 7.75″ x 8.75,” 2012. Private collection.

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Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
(excerpt)

William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)

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What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now forever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.

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Artwork, P. D’Agostino

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Diceva sempre che era il suo preferito / She Always Said It Was Her Favorite, oil on panel & secondary panel, 7.75″ x 8.75,” 2012. Private collection.

Schizzo: Futuro anteriore IX

by Paul D'Agostino

Future anteriore IX, mixed media drawing & collage on mylar & paper, 2012.

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Futuro anteriore IX

Si sarà sì
spesso detto
di quella sera
che certe presenze
vagavano per la chiesa.

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Future Perfect IX

Of that evening
it will have so often been said
that certain presences
were adrift
in the church.

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Artwork & text, P. D’Agostino

 

Schizzo: L’Isola di Fortuna / Fortune’s Island

by Paul D'Agostino

L’Isola di Fortuna / Fortuna’s Island, 1-4.
Serialized set of polytype monoprints with cross-diminishing palette.
Oil on card stock, 2012. Click on one for slideshow of all.

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According to a tradition going back to
the Romance of the Rose (Jean de Meung, 1280),
Fortune lives in a half-crumbling palace set on a rocky island,
which is now assaulted by waves, now left high and dry,
and it is constantly changing shape.

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Extracted from The Mill and the Cross,
Michael Francis Gibson

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Artwork, P. D’Agostino

Schizzo: See Idem, Ibidem, et alii

by Paul D'Agostino

Futuro anteriore VII: Colpevoli saranno stati tutti e nessuno affatto / Future Perfect VII: Guilty Will Have Been Everyone and No One At All. Mixed-media collage with ink and acrylic mediums on gessoed paper, 2012. Private collection.

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See Idem, Ibidem, et alii

Herewith I observe
Paul Virilio observing
Franz Kafka’s version
of matters related
to what Jean Rostand called
‘foolishness’ made ‘noisier,’¹
and Ray Bradbury,
‘the bombardment of images.’²

Thus the thusly prefaced
observation:

“‘The masses are rushing, running,
charging through the age. They think
they are advancing, but they are simply
running on the spot and falling into the
void, that is all,’ observed Kafka.”³

Analogously circular, the pits of
citation.*

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1. Paul Virilio, The Information Bomb, trans. Chris Turner, London, Verso, 2005. Cit. p. 38.
2. Ibidem.
3. Idem.
*  See notes 3, 2, 1.

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Artwork & text, P. D’Agostino

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Nota bene: Feeling that the above verses were already lexico-textually indulgent enough for one post, I had opted not to include an additional note about the intriguing—at least in my mind—coincidence that led me to write them. But then a message I received from my cohort here, A.L. McMichael, led me to reconsider that decision.

Thusly did the coincidence play out:

The first lines of Chapter 5 of Virilio’s above-cited The Information Bomb are as follows: “‘The war years do not seem like real years…. They were a nightmare in which reality stopped,’ wrote Agatha Christie not so very long ago.”

Indeed, Virilio opens the chapter with a quote, an at least mildly chilling one at that. What’s more, he does so with a quote from an author whose works I do not often find cited, then proceeds in subsequent pages to cite authors whose works I know much better and find cited with at least relative frequency. That in itself is neither coincidental nor noteworthy, to be sure; that is, that Virilio’s citational opening and further paraphrasing and quoting might have been the impetus for me to compose a few inherently disposable verses—ouroborically self-consuming in their tautologized knot, those verses exist ever-stuck in the act of self-disposing—about, essentially, quotes, follows a logic that is linear enough.

The deeper layer in all this that made my encounter with Virilio’s citation of Agatha Christie so momentous—again, at least in my mind—was that it occurred almost precisely 24 hours after a previous, and quite similarly unexpected, encounter with the works of the same author. For two mornings ago (on the morning of 23 March 2012, that is), while reading the current issue of The Atlantic (April 2012) and arriving at a series of five rather brief book reviews (pp. 94-95), I found it notable that two of the brief reviews were of recently reissued editions of books first published decades ago, and both by the same writer, Agatha Christie. That doubled-up reminder of the author might have been enough to keep her name fresh in my mind, but what made me take more mental note was that I’d thought, after reading both reviews, how much I’d like to read both of the books mentioned therein. Admittedly, and perhaps inexcusably, I’ve never felt eager, or at least not irresistibly compelled, to delve into Christie’s oeuvre proper. These volumes, however, fall outside of it to some extent and seem promisingly full of different sorts of mysteries and surprises. For instance, one review notes that in Agatha Christie: An Autobiography, one finds a wealth of details related to how she derived plots and characters—yet absolutely no mention of what is considered her “famous 11-day disappearance in 1926”; the other review appraises very favorably Come, Tell Me How You Live: An Archaeological Memoir, in which Christie recounts experiences from her yearly trips to Syria in the 1930s with her husband, Sir Max Mallowan, who traveled there regularly for archaeological digs, all of which conjures a romantically placid, genteel aura of a nation that is currently in the tumult of self-destructive—though perhaps eventually self-renewing, unlikely though it still seems—violence.

I clearly dug into those reviews enough to plan to perhaps eventually dig into those books as well, so my brain was prepared to react synaptically when I encountered her name again 24 hours later in quite a different source—and sitting in precisely the same chair at the kitchen counter, no less, and with that issue of The Atlantic still right there as well. Also of note, of course, is the precise source of Virilio’s quote: the first edition of Agatha Christie: An Autobiography, which was initially published in 1977.

That happens to be the same year a certain yours truly was also issued (to the variable detriment of others).

All the same, as stated above, I had considered including something about all this in the post, only to then decide not to bother. It’s not all that coincidental, I figured, and it would perhaps be of little interest to anyone else. Furthermore, I note these types of lexical coincidences far too often to describe them every time, though each instance compels me to somehow do so.

But then I sent A.L. a brief note last night telling her I’d prepared a new Schizzo for the blog, and asking her to have a look at it before I posted it today. I mentioned nothing regarding the Agatha Christie encounters detailed above.

She replied at some late hour last night, but I only saw it early this afternoon. Therein she said the following: “That’s the second Ray Bradbury reference I’ve seen in two days. Is this a sign that I should be reading Fahrenheit 451 or not writing on lined paper or something?”

‘Perhaps,’ I thought, but I replied differently. “Funny you should bring up multiple encounters with an unlikely author. That’s exactly how I ended up writing that piece, though Bradbury wasn’t the unlikely one. It was, instead, someone quite different. I thought about adding an indulgent note at the end describing it, but then I thought it wasn’t necessary. Now I know it’s in fact necessary, so I’ll add that before posting.”

Necessary, at any rate, to round things off. To be thorough. To bring things, in a manner quite different from that implied in the verses above—or maybe not so different at all, depending on how any of this is eventually read—full circle. Additionally, A.L’s reference to that particular work by Bradbury also conjures imagery related to my collage featured above.

If nothing else, and if only to conclude, this ancillary recounting of coincidences and the like dovetails nicely with something Christie writes in her Mesopotamian memoirs regarding why she made such an effort to compose them. She did so (as quoted, of course in The Atlantic) “to remember that there were such days and such places.”

And such delight to be had in reading and writing.

In recounting and recalling.

In citing, repeating.

Ibidem, ‘as above.’

Idem, ‘the same.’

Nota bene.

P.D.

Schizzo: Aloft

by Paul D'Agostino

Futuro anteriore VI: Si sarà sempre trattato di partenze, scoperte, rovine / Future Perfect VI: It Will Have Always Been a Matter of Departures, Discoveries, Ruins. Mixed-media collage and drawing, with ink and acrylic mediums on layered gessoed paper, 2012. Private collection.*

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“As language refers to its own taking place via shifters, the “this”
and the “now,” [it] produces the sensible expressed in it as a past and
at the same time defers this sensible to the future. In this fashion,
it is always already caught up in a history and a time.”
– Giorgio Agamben**

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Aloft

The plight of beauty
might indeed
for artistry
be:
to lose love almost
or even entirely,
any longer
able solely
to adore.

Whence verses and chapters
and pictures yield
whatever truths any things
may yield.

Grand fictions of
laughter, of magic, of wars,
tales told and retold ever curled into
folds in history’s pleats, distant and deep,
to unfold and refurl into scrolls,
the variant texts of recrafted
worlds, the compassed flights and
magnetic maps and sapient talons of
messenger birds
aloft,
somewhere
in a time.

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Artwork & text, P. D’Agostino

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* This collage is currently featured in my exhibition at Norte Maar Gallery, Appearance Adrift in the Garden, on view through March 4th. More information at nortemaar.org.

** From The Time That Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans (Stanford University Press, 2005).

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