Thursday, September 28, 2017

Labor Day

Jonathon Borofsky, Hammering Man outside SAM in Seattle Photo ©Rowan Moore-Seifred Feb 2015

Labor Day, Everson Wa.
The weather is hot and winds from the east are blowing wild fire smoke over us.  The weekend was full of traversing the border, visiting friends and laying around stunned by the heat and that feeling of summertime sadness. The beautiful season is winding down and I am looking forward to moving ahead but I must be present in this moment now and sit with the sadness. There is a lot to reflect upon.

Labor Day makes me think of the Hammering Man by Jonathon Borofsky. I saw his exhibit at MOCA  (Mar 17, 1986 – May 18, 1986) in Los Angeles when I was attending school there. My friend Mike and I went. I think we were both pretty impressed with it and reading about him now, I am struck by this:

CMM: When you stopped working and started counting, what prompted that?
JB: I had just left graduate school and moved to New York City [in 1966]. I was digesting the New York scene. There was Pop Art and Minimal Art. Both seemed very beautiful to me. Yet each had a weakness or flaw. I was a young artist, searching for his own uniqueness. I ended up in my studio a lot, thinking a lot, writing thoughts down. Less making of things and more thinking about things. I looked for a way to simplify the thought processes. I began to do little 1, 2, 3; 1, 2, 3, 4; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5—writing of number sequences on paper almost as a way to pass the time and not have to think so deeply. Later, I made a decision to count from one to infinity and did write those numbers on paper. After about a year or two of doing that solely with nothing else, counting for a few hours a day as my art activity, I began to go to painting and sculpture again. I made this connection...instead of signing this painting I made today with my name, I'm going to sign it with the number I was on on this particular day when I stopped counting.

We camped at Alouette Lake with friends and witnessed the eclipse together. I am so grateful for my long and evolving friendships. It was our 16th trip this time.

The sky was clear and the sun felt altered, brighter but deeper. Then the moment of cool when the sun is blocked. All that energy stopped for a few seconds.
We waited and tried not to look at it. The lake glistened. My heart glistened.

I hoped the dog would not be blinded. I had no sunglasses for her. She seemed instinctively to know what to do.

Bringing old friends camping with us was my favorite activity of the summer. 

It was a great season in my garden, I learned so much and had many little successes. I visited this Bellingham Wa garden of my friend Binda Colebrook. A lovely place to walk around and muse about plants.

It's sad when summer comes to an end but there is an excitement about getting started again. I connected with quite a few people over the summer who expressed a lot of anguish about the American political situation. In fact it was impossible to avoid it at almost any gathering. I see that people are feeling angry and hopeless and it's all too bad I feel. All this wasted energy feeling fearful. It pulls us away from the real work at hand.

I think our real labor is to be human and to help one another, to lift one another up. I have felt the malaise of the times but I am working to reject it through my daily art making practice.

The Hammering Man photo up top reminds me to keep creating the reality I want to exist in. A notion lost to the young man in the photo who ended his life a few months after this was taken. Life is already a lottery win so why not experience every minute of it. There are no second helpings.

Happy fall, happy new year!

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