Thursday, June 2, 2016

Shift of Chronus

“Shift of Chronus”
(Inscription: Kronus | Chroous)
3.5 x 5 inches | 8.9 x 12.7 cm
Strathmore 50 lb | 74 g/m
January 13, 2010

Shift of Chronus, January 13, 2010

I never did figure out the right word for the title of this drawing. There was a word in there somewhere which was supposed to mean something about a shift in hue, like chroma. But the word kept coming out like another Greek word, which relates to time. Actually they are the same thing when it comes down to the laws of physics. The drawing is an attempt to show a time shift in human consciousness. Creativity addresses time, space, and functions outside the natural order of chronology. Without an awareness of time, we would not comprehend space or the distance between two points in physical reality. During periods of creative activity the artist experiences the sensation that time has been suspended, but as the pencil, paint brush, wood carving chisel, guitar, or stage charts are laid down, the hour is much later than we thought. It's easy to understand how these experiences with creativity can lead to an interest in the time-space continuum
The drawing continues this process of reclaiming markings from the past. The curl of air in the upper right corner was a frequent visitor to pencil drawings some thirty-five years ago. As a landscape, the drawing reminds me of a watercolor painting I did in 1983 entitled The Aegean Sea where the water vapor rising out of the water is made visible in the painting. The surface of the sea (or land) is below one's point of view now, as the horizon is not visible in this landscape. There are only fugitive elements of atmospheric embellishments visible. The air has been slightly bruised with the lightest of markings from the pencil. The wind blows it all to the East, or North, or leeward in the rising escape from gravity and transcendence into a new time zone. Like the journey of a person seeking spiritual truths in a world gone stark-raving mad, the new awareness of the bigger picture starts to gel and thicken in the curl of Chronus. My new word for the day.

Oliver Loveday © 052311:2pm EDT 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tunnel Vision Tapes 4 Regent of Sorrows

 4. Regent of Sorrows, January 12, 2010

I think the title comes from a poem but I don't remember where. If I had my library of poetry books handy, I would be looking through one by a poet from Chile, but I don't, so I can't. That's the sorrow of it already. I had to look the word “regent” up again. From the dictionary: “A person who rules during the childhood, absence, or any unfitness of a rightful ruler.” But this isn't a person. This is art. Like the blues that flows from the lips of a singer lamenting the loss of a lover or a sharecropper who sinks into the tormented sobbing of knowing that insects have destroyed this year's crops, the pencil marks contain my sorrows. These sorrows are too great for one man to embrace, so I invest the powers of containment in an expression of pencil marks on paper. At the center of the field of whiteness resides the illusion of a landscape viewed from overhead, thrusting up out of an unknown body of waters. Or is it the image of the lower part of a heart suspended in raw air with marks around it as though to protect it from further harm? Yet the circle is open as the heart is open, in spite of this field of sorrows, like a regent who is only temporary at best, and perhaps self-serving with ulterior motives at worst. It is due to the lack of recourse otherwise that demands that a regent be named and trusted in spite of misgivings, that such matters arise.
I really like this drawing as it has incorporated some of the drawing techniques I enjoy doing. A sense of solidity dissolving into formlessness at center stage while other lines define boundaries in the flatness of the paper and other marks show the gesture of the hand in celebration of the dance. At the core of dance as a spiritual exercise is the awareness that everything we do is a dance. As my arm dances in space around me, the dance is recorded by way of the pencil grazing the surface of the paper and leaving a trail by which the dance is captured in visual space. Dance, by God! Yes!

Oliver Loveday © 051211:12:10pm EDT

“Regent of Sorrows”
5 x 3.5 inches | 12.7 x 8.9 cm
Strathmore 50 lb | 74 g/m
January 12, 2010

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tunnel Vision Tapes: Number 3 Blue & Green Mask

 3. Blue & Green Mask, January 9, 2010

I don't like doing portraits of anyone else because I'm prone to leave out details that they expect and include details they would rather not see. I guess that's the reason I prefer to do masks instead of faces. This isn't really a mask, but I added the word to the title later. Whatever. The task at hand, from the artistic challenge, was to do a face with the fewest marks possible. I nailed that “problem”, to use the shop talk of artists. What I would really love to be able to do is recreate the pencil marks in metal and be able to suspend them in air with no visible means of support. That's the limitation of physical reality that an artist escapes from when an image is created on the flat surface of a two-dimensional work or with a computer and digital imaging. I think I wrote down Blue & Green at the time because the drawing had a sense of there being a blue and green hue about the face, like theater lighting. I don't know. I just wish he would stop staring at me from the paper of the sketchbook. Time to flip to another drawing.

Oliver Loveday © 051211:11:40am EDT

“Blue Green Mask”
5 x 3.5 inches | 12.7 x 8.9 cm
Strathmore 50 lb | 74 g/m
January 9, 2010

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tunnel Vision Tapes: # 2. Snow, January 9, 2010

I love walking during a snow storm. The snow absorbs all the sounds of the environment and renders the air around me silent. There is only the sound of snow falling on snow, like the sound of blood flowing through my ear drum when there are no other sounds. The landscape is blanketed with new fallen snow and rendered pure with whiteness. Nature has reduced everything to white in a sea of nothingness.
Walking along the city streets before doing this drawing, I'm also seeing a promise of something else. The snow blankets the landscape so the evidence of destruction to the natural world can't be seen. The snowy landscape holds a promise of sorts for me. I see into the future for a brief instant and know that time will fall upon this landscape like snow and remove all the markings of the Western Industrial Culture from the landscape.

Oliver Loveday © 051211:11:20am EDT

3.5 x 5 inches | 8.9 x 12.7 cm
Strathmore 50 lb | 74 g/m
January 9, 2010

The Tunnel Vision Tapes: Introduction

There is a common thread throughout most “positive” spiritual disciplines throughout the world which is the understanding that we create our own discomfort we experience through expectations and desires. To become clear of these takes a lot of discipline which involves instructions and training for most people. Self-awareness and meditation are essential tools in this process. Other methods include visual imagery, sound (music and the spoken word), physical exercise (martial arts and/or yoga) and diet. One term that is used to name the goal of liberation from selfish intentions is emptiness.
Emptiness is cause for anxiety in the human experience. Something about there being nothing there to give a sense of locus or substance may cause a person to panic. This anxiety motivates the human mind to create something where there is nothing and it is through this drive for “being” that causes each person to generate an internal cosmos that defines their reality. Our physical reality evolves in conjunction with our internal cosmology and becomes an extension of our internal reality, giving a sense of time and place that yields a concrete presence from which we function. Sanity is borne out of a degree of harmony between the accurateness of the internal cosmology and the “real world”. This is the natural order of life from within the human psyche. Thus, it becomes unnatural for a person to indulge in the discipline of seeking out a state of awareness where they become immersed in “The Silent Stillness”. The human ego is most comfortable when surrounded by a physical realm that reinforces the concept of completeness derived from the interaction of places, events, social relationships, and possessions as defined by their sense of being. Yet the human spirit is driven to seek out this “otherness” that provides a sense of maturity in the growth of the human psyche.
It is with this in mind that I reviewed a series of drawings created between January 9th  and February 16th , 2010 and added the comments to each drawing as a way of providing verbal references to a “visual journal” from this time period. Certainly the journey to this point in my life could, has, and will generate many other writings from many different viewpoints, as would the journey of any “seeker” who has left a trail of artifacts along the “Path”. The name I've given the 3.5 x 5-inch sketchbook these drawings were created in is from a line in a poem written during this same time period.  During the same time period I worked in the sketchbook a discourse about the role of the Muse in creativity was taking place, and this resulted in several drawings where were given titles and subjects related to this discussion. Another topic that was being discussed during this time period was of the spiritual journey and momentary marking of an “arrival” that would be more relevant in the context of Cherokee spirituality. I've tried to keep most of my comments in a universal context except when the drawings referenced Buddhism, Native American spirituality, or I felt like venting a bit in the moment. I'm human also, as there's only so much universality in any one person.
A sculptor has the benefit of working with materials that are already there as part of the creative process. As Michelangelo is quoted as having once said, to carve an elephant, all one has to do is remove everything that isn't elephant. A potter has a lump of clay to form into a container. The emptiness within the container is as important as the physical presence of the object, as this space provides containment for seeds, liquids, or a sonic chamber for a musical instrument. The modern artist has pieces of steel that can be welded together to form a sculpture. The painter, on the other hand, has an empty canvas with which to stand before and answer to. The draftsman has the blank sheet of paper that challenges the artist from the onset of creativity. Every mark is going to become an element of the final work, no matter how good the artist is. A wrong mark can be erased, but the erasure leaves a blemish on the previously untouched paper. Somewhere between the anxiety of emptiness and the anxiety of potential error, a work of art is created with pencil on paper.
The formal training of a sculptor includes concern for “negative space” which is the area around the physical or “positive space” that is being created. A bronze sculpture of a ballet dancer with arms held up above her head creates negative space between her arms and hands. The sculptor defines this space as part of the work. Rembrandt is quoted with having observed that the space around a subject is as important as the subject in a painting. He was concerned with capturing a sense of dynamic interaction between the “air” of the Holland landscape and the physical objects being depicted in his work. In each discipline of media the artist is aware of the emptiness that physical object generates. In order to define and show “emptiness” (or this “mystery/mystification” that remains unseen) the artist has to create the contrasting element of “something-ness”. This unseen Mystery becomes visible in the blank regions of a drawing where there are no pencil marks. It is easier to show nothing this way than it is to show the wind blowing across the Dutch landscape, yet one can look at paintings where some effort was made to do this and get a sense of “wind-ness”.
This Mystery comes to us through the human effort to confront the unseen aspects of reality in search of self/no-self beyond the physical realm. The schools of thought that support this discipline provide many Paths from different parts of the world. A universal  spirituality, that awareness of the presence of spirit in reality and the ability to have an intentional dynamic relationship with the unseen spiritual forces around us, can be utilized in any activity. Those that offer instructions that seek to balance Karma and guide us in methods to reduce destructive elements from our lives get us there quicker. The discipline of meditation will guide a person to experience this Mystery, but along the way the need to filter out metabolic stimulation like the sound of blood flowing through the ear drums during meditation will generate a process of fragmentation like the space between the lines in a drawing becomes the negative space that defines “emptiness” in works intended to do this. The duality of a circle drawn on a sheet of paper to define emptiness, as in the art work of John Cage, illustrates how we have to fragment in order to arrive at a sense of wholeness in the effort to become at ease with an awareness of the “otherness” that results in this spirituality. It isn't the awareness of emptiness that is the goal in all of this. It is the discipline of shedding anxiety when experiencing emptiness that allows us to become free from bondage of fear within one's sense of self. The “Tunnel Vision Tapes” sketchbook is a visual account of this moment in time that occurred for me somewhere in the middle of the five weeks or so it took to do these drawings. The anecdotes about each drawing will add narrative to these marks along the trail in and out of this moment in time, as it were.

Oliver Loveday © May 12-23, 2011 10am EDT

  1. Cubist Mask , January 9, 2010
As a child I thought I had no imagination. When other kids would look up at clouds and point out elephants, pigs, and horses, I would look up and see cumulus clouds. In that rare moment when it was so obvious a blind man could see it, I might see something else beside just clouds. What I came to understand later was that my imaginings were directed elsewhere and there is nothing wrong with seeing the world for what it is. When I opted to study art in college this lack of transference in my imagination-stunted creativity reduced me to something of a human camera. I could do creative writing. I could whistle a symphonic movement never before heard. I couldn't “visualize” to save my life. When it came time to do an exercise in “Cubism” in drawing class, I had no idea what my professor was challenging me to do. Cubism would be something like making a lot of paper cubes and joining them together to create a sculpture of a model or physical object, then doing a drawing of this sculpture where there are no curved planes in the drawing. I got that part of the exercise now, but back then I was drawing a blank and doing really bad art in the kindest manner of speaking.
Cubism is well documented as an “art movement” within Western culture, but the deeper source of inspiration is lost to the (tribally-disenfranchised) civilized people who haven't been informed that the rest of humanity doesn't fragment reality into dysfunctional elements like the sacred and profane. The African tribal masks that inspired contemporary artists (to break down the subject matter into cubical elements) were depicting spiritual images of a very different nature than the Western Culture became concerned about with Cubism. I could intuit those tribal concerns much easier than I could visualize the abstraction from reality with Cubism. I'm aware of the spiritual elements associated with ceremonial objects, so I can say stuff like that. I finally did the math and got on with Cubism. It helped to do a sculpture first. That realist in me needed something physical to go by. So Cubist Mask isn't that steeped in Cubism. It is steeped in a long string of works named “masks” given my interest in theater, realism, and the hidden things behind the mask. It's a place to start. Maybe I named it Cubist Mask in honor of that effort to break away from realism and began to visualize images outside my physical reality. I remember it was almost painful to do this when I first got started doing art that required that I function as something other than a human camera.

Oliver Loveday © 051211:11am EDT

The Tunnel Vision Tapes can be downloaded in their entirety via PDF at these links.

TV Tapes #1, TV Tapes #2, TV Tapes #3, & TV Tapes #4.