30 June 2011


Bobbing together
The lavender braid
And butterfly.

29 June 2011


Between black clouds
The sun turns off and on
Morning cicada.


28 June 2011


High ceilings-
Prison for
June butterflies.

27 June 2011


Over yonder-
Is grass really greener?
I ask the crow.


STUCK from Joe Ayala on Vimeo.

26 June 2011


Work when you're poor
Work when you're rich-
That's what the bees say.

24 June 2011


Just the blackbird song
For dinner.

22 June 2011


This strawberry
Stored into memory
For next winter snow.

21 June 2011


The sun wakes
The dead each day-
Dandelion morning.

20 June 2011


Summer morning-
Listening to cicadas
While brushing teeth.

j'ai chaud!

19 June 2011


Fooled at sunrise
The green apricots
Picked too soon.

17 June 2011


Lavender field-
The bee in me 
Wants whole afternoon.

16 June 2011


The last nightingales 
Drowning out 
The drunk neighbors.


15 June 2011


Before email-
Letters Antediluvian
Where spiders live.

14 June 2011

13 June 2011


Evening terrace-
Blackbird or nightingale song?
The sparring guests.

12 June 2011


Slimtime from Slimtime on Vimeo.


Frantic and lost
Exploring the television-
A white butterfly.

11 June 2011


A new moon yet
I didn't see the badger
Cross the road. 


I was looking at some of the images floating out of the Biennale in Venice and I confess that I was easily seduced by some of them without even going to experience it firsthand, most notably the work of two artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla in the American Pavilion. Its a wonderful idea: that of an army tank, belly up on its back while a jogger runs on a treadmill powering the tracks and making a deafening noise. The joggers are rotated every 15 minutes and each wear a tee shirt announcing 'USA' so we get the point. A great idea in fact, brilliant with great humor and aesethic wit. 

So, why do I feel as is I've just consumed something? These conceptual works seem to be based upon an idea and are either fabricated by others or appropriated, in this case an army tank from Britain. I know it seems that I am missing the point but it brings me back to an idea which obsesses me somewhat: What place does the hand of the artist have in today's world?

One could say that there is a certain distrust, even suspicion by many conceptual artists concerning the human appendage commonly know as the hand. Why is that so? I remember being appalled to hear Anish Kapoor once say in a film that 'the hand is overrated in today's world of Art,... Handiwork by an artist is an outdated and romantic idea.'

So,...this appears to be a digital world, a place where Chopin and Picasso would do well to find a new line of work.

10 June 2011


Lawn mower-
The dandelions clam up

08 June 2011


The crows carping,
The cedar tree

07 June 2011


Old friendships-
Gone with the wind
The dead flowers.

06 June 2011


Watching them work-
'I need to be like ants'
I think to myself.

05 June 2011


Afternoon rain-
Through the window
A wet crow.


At the Tate Modern I saw several shows over a few hours before heading by boat to the Tate Britain down the Thames. A Miro show which consisted of many political paintings done during the sixties. Although a big lover of this artist I wasn't crazy about many of these pieces which seemed too intellectual except for the very meticulous paintings done of his family home early in his career. There was a selection of Diane Arbus's photographs which always raise the hair at the end of my neck. Also lots of empty contemporary pieces which I won't even comment upon because what really got into my gut was a selection of portraits from a photo studio in Saida, Lebanon. I don't know at all why Akram Zaatari gets credit for these photos which were taken during the fifties in the photo studio except that he is a curator  in Beirut. He is another artist/curator who takes credit for other people's work but I guess in this case its because he found the negatives. However, I don't bring him up to quibble about this. The show is essentially a series of wonderful studio portraits of everyday people completely without pretense or artifice.

I was particularly moved by the following photos which I include below, as well as an explanation by the original photographer who ran the studio and took these pictures back in 1957. I see so much contemporary work which tries to deal with this subject of Abuse of Women, as political theme, in today's world but rarely does one see anything as powerful as these portraits.

04 June 2011


Incessant blackbird
An obsessive mind.

03 June 2011


Honeysuckle scent-
Follows me through the house
Like a dog

02 June 2011


Cold wind tonight-
Monet's red poppies

l'air de rien #138 (London, high speed)

l'air de rien #138 (London high speed) from cloudsandsea on Vimeo.


soisik 1995

I first saw these portraits when I was a child, most certainly on one of the outings to the Met in New York with my father. I remember being absolutely fascinated by the way that each portrait seemed so alive. I could not believe my eyes. I have done a few drawings over the years which seem to possess that same look as if caught in a brief moment of candor. Would they be looking out at God or Death? I think that they have haunted my drawing ever since.

These are the mummy portraits created for wealthy patrons by very talented painters and who, curiously during this time, held positions of prestige themselves. They were first discovered in the 17th century but it wasn't until the late 19th that they were lifted out of the earth in many different sites around Egypt and actively sought after. Painted on various types of wood they had replaced the Greek death-mask as a means of remembering the dead. One anecdote had an explorer running to a site only to find that the locals had burned many of them to keep themselves warm the previous night in the desert.

Alas, little is known about them even the ones in large museums around the world as they were acquired through dubious means with little documentation. However, It is commonly known that they are portraits of wealthy Greeks who settled in and around Alexandria. They were almost certainly done between 50 BC into the 3rd century AD. Its said that the practice stopped for two reasons: The first is that there was a severe economic crisis in the 4th century which changed the spending habits of the wealthy, but also it has been attributed to the rise of Christianity in Egypt which may have changed people's thinking despite the fact that Christianity never banned mummy portraits.
I still marvel at them and even after so many years can see so clearly their influence upon me.