ARTHI 6430-001: Writing Art / Week One Introductions
My name is Rachael, (which is the traditional spelling for Rachel.) I live just outside of Portland, Oregon with my husband and three kids. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My blog is at https://www.rachaelzur.com/blog .
The reading by Samuel Delany, “Of Doubts and Dreams,” was a helpful starting point for me. I really question my abilities as a writer, and for a long time have seen that questioning as an indication that perhaps I’m not well suited to writing. Delany explaining the benefit of engaging with words from a place of doubt as a tool for good writing, is an exciting proposition to me. With both the reading by Barthes and Delany I felt that each author was describing writing in a way that was similar to a refined drawing that suggests a space or a figure, but does not fuss over every detail. It made me think of how Rudolf Arnheim says, “the gesture limits itself intelligently to emphasizing what matters.” Perhaps the practice of good artmaking, or of good writing, is to limit ourselves and our tools intelligently so that we may emphasize what matters.
The tenderness found in Hollis Frampton’s film is not overly sweetened by suffocating the viewer with details; Frampton emphasizes only what is most essential to the uniqueness of his grandmother. Some details are sorrowful, like the loss of her children; conversely the loss of her teeth that she gave to her grandson to play with adds humor and oddity. These pieces of information are just enough to give the viewer a sense the woman who was loved and missed. Perhaps what I enjoy most in the reading this week and in the film, is a concept that I can recognize from painting: the work must demonstrate enough information so that the viewer can identify some of the main concepts, but too much detail can kill the piece.
Looking forward to our discussions together,
A year and a half ago I moved from Norther California to a suburb outside of Portland, Oregon, with my husband and three children. Within a few months of moving here I joined an artist run gallery in Portland. Last month I had my first solo show there.
I am a student who is both excited and terrified with the prospect of writing. Being identified as having dyslexia midway through elementary school put me in a position of playing catch-up in academically up until late middle school. I took over a decade off between finishing my undergraduate degree and starting grad school, in part for personal reasons, but I was also anxious about whether I would be able to meet the writing challenges that an MFA program would demand. As I worked through making my decision to go to grad school (and where I would go to grad school), it became increasingly important to me to use this time to gather my courage and work to abandon my belief that writing well is outside of my grasp.
My apprehension about the level of writing I would be doing in grad school became a catalyst for the art work that I am making now. My paintings are abstract and center on a preoccupation with language from my point of view as someone with dyslexia. I’m creating forms that are exaggerations of how, letters, numbers, or words feel to me when I am tired and my strategies for decoding written language begin to break down. These paintings play with the boundaries of two and three dimensions on surfaces. The paint is often used to form both the image and the structure of the piece.
The readings for this week have given me much to think about, that the doubts that I feel about writing have the potential to become a valuable tool in how I choose to arrange my words.