Friday, October 20, 2006

Simplifying and organizing


I recently requested a book purchase at my local library,"Andrea Zittel: Critical Space." What I love about A-Z is her absolute focus on functional forms and her seemingly relentless quest to explore streamlined, ultra-functional items for daily life. My very favorite of her works are her 'A-Z Personal Uniforms.' She was working at an art gallery and needed to have clothing that was elegant and inexpensive, so she began creating wrap-around dresses/aprons from simple squares and rectangles of fabric. The process then shifted to crochet, in which she enjoyed making a full garment out of a single 'line,' the yarn. These dresses became her 6 Month Uniforms, which she would simplify dressing every day by having this one item to wear for a specified period. (I had a friend in art school who did this, but it was a lacy white dress she wore for 4 months out of stress from her upcoming graduation exhibit...)
And why do I like these garments so much? I have ALWAYS loved to wear the same clothes day after day---not stinky and dirty, don't get me wrong. Since I was a little kid, I've felt most comfortable in just a few items of clothing worn until they almost fall apart. My mother HATED this and used to employ my sisters in her efforts to hold me down and take off my dirty clothes so she could wash them. I would cry and be so upset---washing them ruined the comfort level I'd attained! I'd have to start all over with stiff clothing! These days, I wash my own clothes quite often, but still like to wear the same thing. The fact that Andrea Zittel took this scenario into the form of an art project has earned my endearing respect.
Autumn has definitely shifted on the fulcrum into winter. Strangely, there has only been one light snow fall so far. The temperatures are staying below +40 now, so the ground is hard underfoot....but no snow. When I was a child here, it could be deep winter and -20F by Halloween! Global warming is rending massive changes. I read about another observer of this up here, but South of me; Up In Alaska.
Driving to work, the river is freezing up---or trying to. Small chunks of ice are drifting in the slow, muddy current. Sharp ice lines the banks. All of the leaves have fallen, all of the grass is a dead brown and now I just wait. Every day there are cool blue skies, however. Every day, some dim sunlight, and the earth lies barren. I wish winter would get on with it and give us our next season. Winter means really diving into study, spending hours quilting and painting, having a wood fire in the stove day and night, SKIING. Damn.....If I could just go skiing I would feel so much better....
I'm spending my days hauling wood, sanding and varnishing trim not finished when we built the house 2 years ago, organizing stuff and re-organizing more stuff.....and feeling a bit lost and out of it. I think it's because there has been a lull after the big push to get the APU show done. 15 paintings in 4 months is no small trick. I came down from the stress and excitement and then....well, just stuck there. If only it would just snow.
On a lighter note: I sold another painting. This one from a sales gallery I had work in all summer. The painting sold was a really quirky chalk pastel done in 2001 which was the most personally revealing imagery I'd worked with in years. I'm really happy about the buyer, too---a woman I know who is a writer and painter, herself. Posted by Picasa

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