Monday, April 29, 2019

As Seen on Arteidolia: Swifts & Slows, Lyn Horton & Power Boothe


s w i f t s  &  s l o w s: a quarterly of crisscrossings

Line by Line

Lyn Horton & Power Boothe

None of us can remember seeing our hands and feet for the first time. We began to unfold the layers of knowing, differentiating this from that. Extending our hands and feet had a purpose. The initial steps to communicating. Our interaction with the world became too complicated to let communication remain as single hand outlines painted on pitted dark cave walls. Language needed some kind of organizing principle in order to mean anything. Left to right. Right to left. Up and down. Down and up. Across. How to assemble symbols to declare, to instruct, to explain, to question, to exclaim, to simply say.

Somewhere in that evolution the grid appeared. Some say it is the way our brain is arranged. How to extend order to our internal and external cognitive environments. 

Originally these grids were only dots and called “Ellipsis” as in dot dot dot. Dots then became lines. “Ellipsis” stayed. “Ellipsis” pointed to: More planes to denote. More spatial relationships to create.

On undetectably torn pieces of paper, the ruled drawn lines have some kind of tooth to grip. A wash or carefully brushed line can glide without falling into any textural dimples. The faint, nearly illegible grids are fences along which imagistic decisions depend. Questions arise about when to keep the small one-foot square surfaces cool or when to heat them up. When to scrape off the color or when to add it. Individual lines dominate or recede. They always coincide with the lines of the grid. They span the lengths of grid lines from one intersection to the next. They are whole. They exist on the sharp edge of the inch and a half wide razor blade that makes them with a twirl or a swipe. The lines are nurtured as the babes they are. And somehow disciplined and recalled.

The way the wind blows, the lines go.
Like leaves, like snowflakes carried by air currents, the lines land.
The scatter of the lines is totally methodical. Without method. The lines retreat from sequence. They occur intermittently, persistently and have equal importance. The lines are sought after without a chase.
We can run, skip, walk, ride, float or glide through the linear forest of colors, of blue and black and red and purple and yellow, and play hide and seek or tag, go anywhere we want to go. To pursue our dreams of fulfillment. To delight in the surprises of discovery. To be invited. Not pushed into the space where sheets of golden iridescence or opaque opalescence transcend their obvious limits. We can only know how we feel here. Because there is nothing to know. There is only what we can experience. Unexpectedly. Mysteriously attracted, we might never want to leave.

We are both artist and viewer in the viewing. The artist envelops our wonder and our intuition with his own. We stay alive in the company of his animated imagined community.

The artist uses his brain to extend his visions so that they can be noticed, studied, or rarely ignored.

Power Boothe’s work courtesy of Fred Giampietro Gallery

Dedicated to My Mother

It was Easter Sunday.
No family around to celebrate
The rising of Christ from the dead.

No eggs planted anywhere.
My breakfast French toast was dipped in eggs though,
Drenched in syrup, where berries and cinnamon also floated.

The dishes were washed.
The reading of the news was done.
I was sufficiently terrorized,
Thrust into hopelessness and gloom.

Some say we will survive.
Others say nay.
I have no reason to believe in anything but myself.
So much trauma in my own life caused by those
Who were meant to love me unconditionally.
As parents, as lovers, as friends, as a husband.

I was alone.
And intent on finding another place
To merge with the natural world.

Down the state highway going south
Is the entrance to a road that parallels
The river I visit on Sundays.
I have never been down this road.
It was a good day to give it a try.

Discovering this path by the river
For the first time on foot, I was eager
To see where it took me.
I parked where a closed gate blocked going any further by car.
I parked beside a truck bearing New Hampshire license plates.
A sign on the gate said FLOOD.

I walked past the gate.
The road descended gradually.
The river was on the left of the road.
The river was full and rollicking over rocks.
Eventually, the rushing river disappeared from view
And changed into a stream.

I passed two couples and one dog from New Hampshire,
Going in the other direction.
I wished them Happy Easter.

I passed a crevice on my right side, the side of the main road above,
Carved out by a temporary charge of water in the past rainstorms.
Grasses lay across the road in the direction in which the water had taken them.

The stream flowed into a flood plain.

When I reached the open flood plain,
My body was seized with an anxiety
I have not felt since I was a toddler.

I stopped walking.

I stood looking out
Over acres and acres of  three foot long grasses
Laid flat by water.

In the distance was a short cement bridge.
Do I walk that far? I said to myself.

It was not raining.

My steps carried me several hundred yards
To the bridge.
The bridge passed over the stream that was the river.

I was standing in a flood plain bordered by a dam wall.

I turned around 360 degrees.

No birds were singing.
Nor could I see any flying.
No sound.
Not even from the flow of the water.
I could not detect the breeze.

The water had receded from its flood stages.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been standing there.
On the bridge.

This is how the end of the world is going to look,
I thought.

The clouded gray sky foretelling of more rain
Provided a cyclorama against which the silhouettes of the trees
Atop the hills, which cupped the valley, grew.

I took pictures.

I sought out where the road would lead
If I were to continue walking.
The road disappeared around a hill.

Because I had hurt my knee,
And I would have worsened how hurt it was,
I decided against continuing.

Besides, the drops of a drizzle began
To hit my cheeks.

I turned and started to retrace my steps
Back to the entrance
Where my car was parked.

Experiencing this place measured an inkling
Of acceptance of imminent death.

My death.
The death of the earth.
The death of all.
The irrevocable final transformation of all.

In five billion years,
The sun explodes.

I have known that the sun will explode
For my entire adult life.

I saw moments before the end time
In that flood plain. On Easter Sunday.

Scientists say that the sun will explode in five billion years
From the time they declared it.
From now.
Less, of course, the number of years I will have lived.

Copyright 2019 Lyn Horton

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

As Seen on ARTEIDOLIA: Peter Pincus's Finesse

Peter Pincus’s


Lyn Horton
January 2019

               Peter Pincus, Ewer, 2018.

Artists live in a tight world of history and influence. The medium an artist uses often points to possible penchants for attractive pods of that network. How an artist assimilates those areas of interest is complicated and eventually translates into what the artist ends up doing in both apparent and undetectable ways.

Peter Pincus is a contemporary ceramic artist. He has in his own practice evolved a means to unite history and influence to create his signature vision. Although he speaks of ceramics as being “too material specific to be classified as fine art,” he has produced an array of objects that walk a fine line of defying that statement.

As a teacher, husband and father, he and his wife have bonded to establish a vibrant working environment. Their studio is organized and stocked plentifully with materials exemplified by shelf after shelf after shelf of color-infused liquid slip clay. Twenty hours of studio time per week unfolds not only the fabrication of utilitarian objects that helps to fund their livelihood, but also the unique inimitable pieces that constitute Pincus’s oeuvre.

Pincus is an intense, dedicated master of his craft. His work speaks a restrained yet exuberant enthusiasm for those visual artists and ceramicists who have come before him. This article hinges upon an exhibit, at Ferrin Contemporary in North Adams, MA, entitled “Peter Pincus: Channeling Josiah Wedgwood.”

An English potter of the 18th century, Josiah Wedgwood impressed Pincus in more ways than the obvious. Bringing to light Wedgwood’s integrity in regards to how pottery was manufactured intertwined with the dissemination of his views on social justice and labor practice, Pincus distinguishes Wedgwood’s scientific methods as “obsessively” studying materials and their characteristics and “feverishly” creating “bodies of work in a way that was unparalleled in the history of ceramics.” The invention of Jasper, a white unglazed porcelain often colored with metallic oxides, “… altered the way the world viewed porcelain and white ware …” (Pale blue jasperware denotes Wedgwood’s brand of ceramics.) Pincus also believes that pieces coming out of Wedgwood’s factory at Etruria, Italy, are “perhaps the finest work (he) has ever seen. Excellent proportions, gorgeous forms, subtle transitions. It is sculpture about pottery, created before sculpture about pottery was a thing.”

Peter Pincus, Kalyx Crater, 2018.
Pincus has adopted and pushed through the most interesting aspects of Wedgwood’s work for his own purposes. He exaggerates, bloats or elongates the predominant curvilinear forms, the details of the handles, the shapes of feet that support the vases and the lips and the spouts of vessels. “There is an endless potential to develop more succinct form. The more I make,” he says, “the more sensitive I become to proportion, scale, and relationship.”

Distinct to Pincus’s interpretation of visual art is the multiplicity of geometric designs superimposed on the surfaces of his pieces.

The interaction of multicolored and/or monotone stripes and parallel-line or triangular shapes that appear on the silky-smooth skins of the ceramic works are created from colored porcelain veneers layered laboriously into the mold. The last layer of material which completes the final three-dimensional form is poured into the prepared plaster mold. The resulting chemistry that occurs in the process of slip clay casting through the multiple firings of the pieces in the molds produces the end product, which itself is washed and treated to its peak condition

Peter Pincus, Vase with Handles, 2018.

How materials interact, merge and blossom is crucial to the impact of Pincus’s ceramic art and to how the forms are read: from the top, the side, the other side, or around. These forms are exquisitely detailed and finished. They are not necessarily confined to expressing their utility. He plugs vessels with a gold finish so that the “dead”-ness of their interior disappears: “…closing the form is a fantastic way to add significant structural integrity.” But closing the form also allays the question of function, and directs the context of the object to its inherent sculptural beauty.

The work of Peter Pincus is more than a hybridization of historical and visual forms: it represents the impending dawns of conceptual realization from the shaping, sanding and construction of the plaster molds, down to the infinitesimal distance between the chosen porcelain veneer color arrangement coating the inside of a mold and the slip clay to which it adheres. Within that distance lies the metaphorical spark that births the art.

His work crosses the bridge from “pottery” to “art” in the same way he has described that the work of Wedgwood did, only three centuries later, when art survives in an isolated slice of culture that is paradoxically perpetually prevalent.

Installation view, Peter Pincus: Channeling Josiah Wedgwood, Ferrin Contemporary, North Adams, MA, Fall, 2018.


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