Monday, January 18, 2016
Transfiguration Series Notes
These are my best work. If you want a beautiful signed limited print, email me. They look beautiful
This Transfiguration series is composed of portraits of my friends, touched together with moss, rock, rust, lichen, corrosion, architecture, reflections, entropy, loss, time.....
Transfigurations 1 - Crown of Lichen, Flesh of Rust
Notes: To Sleep along the River: Reddi, rust, lichen, flood-tumbled stone.
Transfigurations 2 - Crown of Rust, Dress of Ashes
Notes: A rusted metal door from a burnt out electrical parts building, and a layer of volcanic ash, from Crown of Rust, Dress of Ashes.
Her crown is an image of one of the most beautiful decayed objects I have ever seen, a rusted metal door, warped and burned in a fire, exposed to the elements, and corroded. Her dress is an image of volcanic ash, layered, from a cliffside on Mount Hood. of Mt. Hood.
In so far as the mind sees things in their eternal aspect, it participates in eternity.
Transfigurations 3 - Language of the Birds
Notes: Vine maple, lichen, columnar basalt.Zhalih as Gaia.
Transfigurations 4 - Suffer the Time
Notes Suffer the Time II: The bus had been driven to Oregon, at the end of the 60's, by two members of the San Francisco mime troupe. They bought a small plot of land outside of Portland, lived in the bus a while, built a home, raised a family. One became very active in poetry and community radio, one became a carpenter. They were Italian. Every Easter they put on a lovely feast, with two kinds of home made sausage, traditional Easter cake stuffed with Ricotta cheese, home and my other wonderful things brought by their guests. (my mom is Sicilian, so I loved this) The couple grew old. The bus stayed in the yard, rusted, became covered with plants, moss and lichen. Beautiful, it became simply beautiful.
I merged the window of this bus, where the driver sat, with the image of Zhalih. (along with another image of stone and lichen, from the side of a nearby volcano) Surely there must be a metaphor here
Transfigurations 5 - The Music Forbids Deep Silence
A simple piece two layers, beautiful and somber Aimee, and a century old gravestone, covered with lichen, decayed in time.
Transfigurations 6 - Portrait with Lichen and Striated Leaf
Transfigurations 7 - Touch
Transfigurations 8 - Corrosion, Blue Light
Notes: The reflection of a through-truss, double lift bridge in a skyscraper facade under dusk light, as transfigured into and with the image of Zhalih
Transfigurations 9 - Mirror Yearn
Transfigurations 10 - Architectural Mask and Lichen
Notes: Lichen, sunlight on basalt, architectural mask (Koolhaus Seattle library), Aimee. The light of nature and knowledge.
Transfigurations 11 - She sleeps (Also Awakening)
Transfigurations 12 - In Years of Rain
Notes: Plywood left in years of rain, vine maple, lichen
Transfigurations 13 - Into the Forest Floor
Transfigurations 14 - The Last Breath of Small Light
Transfigurations 15 - Interstitial
Notes: Zhalih, the curvature of an aluminum sculpture, and reflections in a skyscraper facade, as viewed from the steel bridge at dusk
Transfigurations 16 - If Time was a Circle
Notes: Corrosion, reflection, and the dissolution of the surface of a painted brick wall
Transfigurations 17 – EgyptianNotes: Egyptian
Corrosion, reflection, and the dissolution of surface
Transfigurations 18 – Corrosive Mask
Notes: A tribal mask, the texture of rusted and flaked industrial barrel.
Transfigurations 19 - Rivets and Corroded Paint
Notes: Rivets and corroded paint. The steel girders of a double-truss bridge.
Transfigurations 20 - Architectural Singularity
Transfigurations 21 - In the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Notes: Architectural texture from Rem Koolhaas (Seattle Public Library) and Frank Gehry (Experience Music Project), and fractured basalt.
Transfigurations 22 - Autumn Mask
Transfigurations 23 - Maiden Hair
Transfigurations 24 - Intensity and Corrosion
Transfigurations 25 – Stigmata (portrait of the poet Walt Curtis)
Transfigurations 26 - Corrosion and Time
Transfigurations 27 - Half Eye Under Stone
Transfigurations 28 - Through a glass darkly
Transfigurations 29 - Queen of the green night
Transfigurations 30 - Crackling of Time
Transfigurations 31 - Sea shell
Transfigurations 32 - As moving sleep
Transfigurations 33 – Catalan
Transfigurations 34 - Self Portrait
Transfigurations 35 - Metamorphosis.
Notes: Nature, man, life, time, growth, earth, metamorphosis, and decay.
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.
The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.
The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.
The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.
And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.
Transfigurations 36 – Portrait of a Poet in the 21st Century.
Transfigurations 36 – She is Hidden
Transfigurations 37 – Corrosive metamorphosis
Notes: “Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.” Jorge Luis Borges
Transfiguration 38 – Aimee as the Spirit of Autumn
Transfiguration 39 –
Leonardo da Vinci
From his Treatise on Painting
"You should look at certain walls stained with damp, or at stones of uneven colour. If you have to invent some backgrounds you will be able to see in these the likeness of divine landscapes, adorned with mountains, ruins, rocks, woods, great plains, hills and valleys in great variety: and then again you will see there battles and strange figures in violent action, and expressions of faces and clothes and an infinity of things which you will be able to reduce to their complete and proper forms. In such walls the same thing happens as in the sound of a bell, in whose stroke you may find every named word you can imagine."
From Fragments of an Aesthetic of Melancholy
Because, first of all, they are a compendium of desires – contrasting, contradictory, impacted, immobilizing.
The desire to become fully visible, to be seen (at last) as one is, to be honest, to be unmasked.
The desire to hide, to be camouflaged. To be elsewhere. Other. The desire to impersonate someone else, but that is not other enough. The desire to escape from a merely human appearance: to be an animal, not a person, an object (stone? wood? metal? cloth?), not a person, to be done with personhood.
The desire to be emblematic. Impervious to age and the distress of flesh.
The desire to accede to the ruins of time, to be reconciled with the depredations of time, to become a ruin.
The desire to punish the self. The desire to place no aim before that of gratifying it.
The desire to dissolve the self into the world, the desire to reduce the world to matter, something one can inscribe oneself on, sink into, be saturated with. The desire to compete with one’s own image, to become image, artifact; art; form….
The desire to be stripped down, to be naked, to be concealed, to disappear, to be only one’s skin, to mortify the skin, to petrify the body, to become fixed, to become dematerialized, a ghost, to become matter only, inorganic matter, to stop, to die.
“Omnia mutantur, nihil interit (everything changes, nothing perishes).”
― Ovid, Metamorphoses
Notes on the Transfigurations
I take many thousands of photos. Sometimes when I go hiking I focus exclusively on the lichen, moss, rock, rock and wood patterns, ignoring the landscape. I photograph decay, corrosion, dissolution. I photographs the facades of buildings reflecting changing lights. All these textural elements have symbolic and poetic meaning, as well as visual beauty.
When I am ready, I analyze my images. I take my best portraits, and my best textural photos, and combine them digitally. I go through hundreds of pairs of images, exploring the complex combinatorial space, following my own heuristic devices and intuitions until, as if it had dropped out of the sky, a new piece appears in front of me. I have techniques and methods, of course, and when I see something appear I might have to push it to its own fulfillment, but there is an essential part in the creation of many of these pieces that they came into existence their own being, something unexpected, something even difficult to name. They are visual poems.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, then studied poetry under John Yau, Bernadette Meyer, and David Trinidad at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, the heart of poetry in NYC, and with Charles Bernstein at the New School.
Out on the West coast I fell into a job as a commercial photographer. In a year I took over 50,000 photos of buildings in cities all over the Pacific Northwest, in rain, in fog, in sun, in shadow, in mist, in summer, and winter.
Now, somehow, my poetry and photography has combined. Lichen, water, stone, corrosion, decay, and the faces of my friends, have become the vocabulary of a visual poetry.
Produced the documentary Salmon Poet, which was directed by Sabrina Guitart, and starring Portland poet Walt Curtis.
Directed the cult favorite Portland satire, The Worriers, a parody of the lives and loves of the Portland, Oregon, poetry community. Its tagline "Bad Gangs, Bad Girls, Bad Poetry.
Posted by James Honzik at 10:17 PM