Sunday, 9 June 2013

I have made a heap of all that I could find


To put one thing against another. Metcalf (Lillabulero interview) regarding “looking for the personal in the handling of the material, the way the material itself is handled”:
Isn’t this all modern painting? I mean, I’ve learned a lot from the modern painters. I remember a show I saw years ago in Asheville, North Carolina, by Josef Albers. And the things that he was doing, simply by putting this color next to that color, he was a man who did that as well as anybody, as you well know. In looking at those pictures, I got a sense of tremendous overpowering emotion that went on, that made him put that special relation of colors and designs together. And if this comes through in my writing, that’s what I’m aiming for, for the reader to get the thrill that comes to me from the juxtaposition of these materials . . . And this has been carried now, beyond Albers . . . I’m thinking particularly of Robert Rauschenberg, where the election, the choosing of materials for juxtaposition, is not just colors but solid images . . . He not only chooses, but there is a subtle pattern to his choices, that gives a structure to his work, to the body of it, as a whole. So you have a double excitement: first, the individual painting, and then its place in relation to the rest of his work.
(See William Corbett’s piece on Metcalf that begins with Nennius’s “I have made a heap of all that I could find” and ends with Arthur Dove: “There is an Arthur Dove collage in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts that puts me in mind of Metcalf. Mussel shells are nailed in a row below a hill of sand and pebbles, and on the hill a touring car clipped from a magazine advertisement carries the family on what must be a Sunday drive. This scene is seen through tree branches set in rows.” Metcalf reviewed Michel Butor’s fragmentary, factual, quote-filled—signs, slogans, newspapers, catalog detritus along with Jefferson, Franklin, William Penn, Louis Sullivan, &c.—1963 Mobile, A Study for a Representation of the United States for Corbett’s magazine Fire Exit.)

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