_the divine nothing
The Divine Nothing
December 10, 2016 - January 21, 2017
1242 Palmetto St
Los Angeles, CA
"Once there were brook trouts in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery."
-Cormac McCarthy, The Road
I wake-up at 8AM. My studio in downtown Los Angeles has been my home for the past two years. Before getting out of bed I call New York. I apologize to Michelene for the things I said last night. The results of this weeks presidential election and my efforts to quit smoking and drinking again have put me on edge. I get dressed. I take the elevator downstairs. I walk through the hallway, passed Elvira's Wedding Chapel and the pink mannequins cloaked in quinceanera dresses. I open the roll gate. Broadway is always quiet on a Sunday morning. Today the quiet is more noticeable since the streets have been flooded day and night with protesters rallying against Donald Trump. I walk across the Broadway into Grand Central Market. The counter at the coffee stand is crowded. Two women are complaining to the barista about their cappuccinos. A new girl is working the register. She's takes my order with a pleasant, confident smile. The coffee is too expensive, too strong, a recipe for too much anxiety, but I drink it anyway. I text James, asking if he wants to go to breakfast at Ashleigh's restaurant tomorrow. I check the news. One year ago today 130 people were killed at the Bataclan in Paris. Suddenly, the thought of food makes me nauseous. I text Adarsha to see how Cole's wedding in Carmel went. "Beautiful," she writes back. I finish my coffee, walk back through the market and across Broadway. I take the elevator back up to my studio. Dave is visiting from New York today. I need to straighten up for him, but there is still so much work to do. In a month my exhibition opens in Los Angeles at Adarsha's gallery, MAMA. I wonder if Ari will finish his violin piece in time. I wonder if the reality of this installation will match the dream. I turn on the studio lights. Their incessant buzzing, which once annoyed me, has become a familiar comfort. I unlock the studio door. I need to replace this doorknob soon. Inside, I look at a grid of test prints pinned to a section of unprimed drywall. They are images of wildflowers photographed in Texas in the hours following my grandmother's funeral. On the floor, leaning against the adjacent wall, are two photographs of light reflections in a shallow pool leftover from of a flash flood in Death Valley. In the opposite corner of the studio, where the previous tenant, a photographer, once shot portraits of newlyweds, are eight paintings on canvas and clay.
Elsewhere paint buckets are scattered across the floor, dried eucalyptus branches, discarded bills, scraps of cardboard and bubblewrap. It's hard to tell what's art and what isn't anymore. The personal is political, darkness is disguised as light, and within everything beautiful is a sadness, a longing, a desperate search. I think of cleaning up, but I decide to to leave everything in its place. The mess reminds me of this past year, and I don't want to forget any of it. I sit down in the blue armchair I bought with a girlfriend who I don't know anymore. I think about my life, my friends, the ones I love, the ones I don't talk to anymore, all the people I pretended to be, the places I remember, the fields where I buried pieces of my soul, the desert, the calm of that emptiness, the importance of my own insignificance. I dream of light shining through the void. There is still so much work to do. It begins with these thoughts, with the places and people that trigger them. Right now this whole world matters, even if in the end it all adds up to nothing.
November 12, 2016
Los Angeles, CA