|"Skinflicks" oil stick and acrylic|
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Gabi’s little films
I was pleased with the reception of Gabi’s little films at Tacoma’s B2 Gallery last night. We showed three short films that she made when she was a film student, first at the University of Southern Mississippi and then at The Evergreen State College (1987-1989). They were films of me making paintings and one of students at TESC discussing the art. Going into it I was doubtful. I wondered if we should even be doing it. The artwork was so old and I was so young, and I was afraid I was going to look ridiculous.
Those early paintings were all about sex and how people were obsessed with and afraid of it. I tried at the time to approach the subject matter with intelligence and wit — mostly wit, tongue-in-cheek eroticism (considering some of the paintings “tongue-in-cheek” is a double entendre).
So why was I so apprehensive? Because as an artist — and I suspect all artists feel this way — I am sometimes proud of my paintings and sometimes ashamed of them; and I mean the same paintings seen at different times. As Red Warner put it in my first novel, Until the Dawn, “When you put that last stroke on your canvas and you know you've done it right, and you step back to look at what you've done, a deep sigh comes all the way up from your loins and you say “Yes! Yes, by God, I did it.
“But it can also be like a cramp in the pit of your stomach that wrenches your intestines and won't let go; because to make a painting you have to reach deep down inside and pull it out, and when it doesn't come it's like the dry heaves. . .”
It was such a relief to discover I had nothing to be apprehensive about. The people who came to watch and discuss were mostly other artists, and their comments were intelligent and interesting. They had nothing but praise for the work, and I was so relieved. I was doubly pleased that many of the comments were as much about Gabi’s filmmaking as they were about my painting.
Among the participants were: sculptor and art provocateur Lynn Di Nino; painter Becky Knold and her husband, John; painter Judy Gilbert and her husband, Jerry, a couple of old Greeners; Elayne Vogel; painter Jeffree Stewart; gallery owners Gary and Deborah Boone; and printmaker Mary Pacios whose amazing prints are currently on display at B2.
It was a wonderful event, and we’re going to do it again; next time at Susan Christian’s art space in downtown Olympia. Time and date yet to be determined.