i just finished a terrific book about the women who were at the origins of the abstract expressionist movement. it was an inspiring and also depressing glimpse into how a group of insanely talented and wise women built a movement based on a pure love of creativity and art, alongside a group of men who wanted the same thing. they ended up mostly intermarrying, and inside the community everyone was respected for his or her talent and skill, regardless of gender. then along came the male art critics, and the businessmen who grappled onto the movement to make money, and suddenly it was the men of the movement, jackson pollock, willem de kooning, franz kline whose names became bywords across the world, and whose paintings made millions of dollars. not because they were better, but because they were men, and it was more comfortable for the men who were judging their work to deal with the work of other men. anyway, one description of jackson pollock stuck with me. someone in the book said that it was impossible to totally understand the work of pollock until we got the first images back from the hubble telescope. at that point it was possible to see that he had tapped into something literally astronomic, some kind of patternmaking that fed off of the patterns of the universe as a whole. i think these stems and dried flowers, in a very minor way, do the same thing. they look to me like neurons, or nerve endings, sending out their signals of knowledge, pleasure, and pain.

(unidentified) dried roadside stems

  • marlene ann malisow says:

    you named men – not one woman


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