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On the table


The Short Image is where I’ll offer each Thursday a few words on art, culture, and elsewhere. This week, purpose.

Some artists work like explosions of wedding cake. They deconstruct the unities of the world with batters of paint, poem strata, cold flinging moment. Think about Stephanie Barber or Leonora Carrington: films, color, sentence, motion. They make it once—again, not again—and yes there again.

The other end of the room is the wedding cake, the world itself day after day. Here is Agnes Martin, her cool grids over four decades, the steady wash of her paint. She said she found innocence in her squares, like the floury tops of the trees.

What ties together, of course, 1st paragraph and 2nd, is the committed brain. Watch the interview with Martin, desert recluse and visionary. “You have to bring your whole mind to bear,” she said. “To carry on, to go forward. Painting is not making paintings.”

Your whole mind, there on the mesa top, attending to the voices. It’s too much to do, and you probably won’t, not always.

But go ahead, Sisyphus, and try, bent to your work. After all, it’s all this or some other world, intact and flying.

Joseph Young
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About The Author

Joseph Young

Joseph Young lives in Baltimore. He has written about art for many magazines, newspapers, and websites, and his book of very short stories, Easter Rabbit (Publishing Genius), was released in 2009. His art has been seen in galleries and other venues in Baltimore and beyond. Check out his digital collage series, Newer Comics.

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