Loosely based on the work processes of Northcliffe artist, Howard Taylor, this poem is inspired by wondering if the abstract artist is actually an extract artist, peddling the mining and refining of visual perceptions. Also, I had the thought that that kind of artist might share something “diabolical” with those who would remove hedges and other permeable boundaries in favour of colourbond fences. Colourbond fences, favoured by many Western Australians in both suburbs and country towns, are typically impregnable sheets of metal 8 or 9 feet high with little or no gap at the ground or anywhere. To my way of thinking, they destroy connection between spaces and between the living things (people, plants, animals) that would ordinarily interact across boundaries. For humans, that might just be obliterating the possibility of a quick squizzy at the neighbour’s yard, or a housewives’ chat over the wall. My well-meaning neighbours in Northcliffe put such a barrier up between our properties. This meant I could no longer check the skatepark for kids from my kitchen window. I was a bit sad about that at the time. Meanwhile, our trees have grown and obscured the skatepark anyway.
The three contexts of ground, space and wall, are Howard Taylor’s, by the way, not mine—he must have been very intelligent, intellectual and perceptive, I reckon. The rest is a very cynical take on what another artist starting from that theoretical stance might think.
Without more ado, the poem:
On the ground, In space, On the wall.
See the cunning sleight of the artist’s eye and hand.
“If I give you no context, there can be no recognition—Only disconnection and disorientation.
You must orientate to the extracted object alone.
In the process of deconstruction, I first examine, then Demonstrate the geometrical simplicity To which the living can be reduced as required.
Note the difference between this planned, sawn, Planed and sanded surface and Bark. Bark, of course, being the varied surface of the Tree that inspired me.
See how line and shade and the alchemy between them can be removed From the chaos of plant matter and made ready for the gallery’s clean white walls.
What you might see with the blurry vision of the drunk, and Stumble over and around, mistaking your perception for the object with Potentially disastrous consequences, I see with precision and purity in the eye of the mind.
What confused you in your dreary state is now shown to be Possible in the trinity of contexts:
On the ground, In space, On the wall.”
The exemplary orderliness of the artist’s studio—The tools, the maquettes, the artist’s pressed shirt—When visitors arrive with their notebooks and pencils, Stems the flow of both irrelevance and excreta.
Cuttlewoman, rights reserved, please, 2017