Anarchy, Black History, Excess… and hope

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There’s an invaluable lesson we can learn from the history of black people in this country. Counter to many distopic movies–which play on the assumption that need, and scarcity of resources will set people against one another. An idea planted as a seed of capitalist ideology–by the elite’s fear of the people, fear of real democracy.
 
But if we look a their history, we see how black people, survived by mutual aid, preserving what what was possible to preserve, and so much more– creating a new culture, new music, new art. A history that refutes that dytopic fear. The Lord of Flies fear.
 
If there is violence in impoverished neighborhoods now, it’s not scarcity, but excess that is to blame–the seductive promise of excess wealth and power, the omnipresent propaganda absorbed by living in and under a consumer capitalist driven ideology.
 
Poor people learn how to take care of one another–or they die.
 
The greater the wealth, the more that ability deteriorates. The billionaire elites are damaged–and damaged in ways that puts human survival itself at risk. The disposition that motivates mutual care, is lost. Excess corrupts… and at some point, corrupts absolutely. John Woolman understood this. Few have understood it better.
 
I’m not setting up an argument for the virtue of poverty. That’s not the conclusion I draw. But I am making an argument for the corrosive power of excess, where some have more than they need, and many have less. We have enough food and material wealth to house and feed every person on the planet–and much more. The problem is, and has been since the first neolithic farmers cultivated grains and rice, that could be stored and accumulated, and did not need to be consumed as it was harvested, how to use the excess… other than providing the means for kings and priests and war lords to rule over the lives of others… invariably, over the ones who produced the excess.
 
The problem didn’t begin with capitalism. Capitalism systematized and automated and dehumanized the machinery that had been at work since the first cities in China, the Indus valley, the fertile crescent.
 
What starting me thinking about this, was watching a neighbor caring for an invalid aunt and grandmother.
 
We are good at this, we humans. It isn’t scarcity that is destroying us, but excess… and how to deal with that without destroying those deep rooted communal habits we are so good at creating. Inequality is the symptom… a symptom that itself can destroy us. But there’s a deeper cause. Something we have never been able to learn.
 
I think that the anarchists… some of them, began to get this.
 
I think that’s our way to the future… if we’re to have one.

Abstraction as a political choice

Once you understand the history of this country–whole shelves of American fiction, and great collections of American painting, become unbearable.
I think about this when I try to understand my almost exclusive turn to abstraction, and my resistance to representative art–even though that’s what my education prepared me to do.
It’s not my call to portray the lives of black people, or “first nations’ ( I like the Canadian term), and I don’t see any crying need to paint white people! Abstraction for me embodies a voice of resistance, of protest. Both a choice, and an act of self denial: a rejection of the world I see around me. A turn to landscape, or nature painting is no better–simply another kind of denial… unless I painted toxic dumps, industrial wastelands. I lean in that direction with my Recyclations (trash assemblages).

“When Hate is Glorified, Institutionalized and Merges With State Power”

To Inform is to Influence

06/16/2017 04:59 pm ET

Two years later, Facebook acknowledged that “malicious actors” had created “fake personas” to spread misinformation on the site, updating this a week later with the admission that “any person’s Facebook account could also become the target of malicious actors… who could potentially access sensitive information that might help them advance harmful information operations.”

How did we get here? How is social media being deliberately utilized to evoke anger, hatred, bigotry, and…

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Things you wouldn’t think you could do with pastels

Skill and Expression Win the Day It’s always exciting when we hear about emerging talents in the painting and drawing fields we are passionate about. Here I’d like to introduce you to seven pastel artists whose work demonstrates a level of skill and expression that has caught the attention of critiquing artists and specialists in […]

via 7 Emerging Pastel Artists to Watch Out For — Max Mallie’s Blog

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60.9 x 60.9cm  Acrylic on canvas. With abstract work, I think more in terms of structure, than composition. Ask–where are the bones? The interior scaffolding? Hearkens back to the pleasure I found when I was a boy–from around 7 to 10 years old, playing with a set of building blocks. They were the architectural wood blocks, large blocks of different sizes and shapes: pillars and arches and cubes.  I would build odd configurations, cantilevered extensions balancing asymmetrical columns that grew like crystals or organisms. When I thought about, “structure,” this is what came to mind (cont below).

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View my web portfolio here ART BY WILLARD
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Much of what I do is like that–extensions of how I would play when I was alone: building structures with stones and sticks and rusted cans, watching water running down the curbs and imagining the patterns as rivers as though seen from a great height–imaginary landscapes. I felt no connection between making art, and how I had played as a child, until I began making assemblages in the Ox.
A new insight… how it happened, that it all came bubbling out of me at that moment when it became for me, again…  pure play… and what had stopped by progress so many years ago. It wasn’t, as I’ve explained to myself, that I was afraid I didn’t have the talent, or the ability; it was because there was a disconnect between what I thought of as, ‘art,’ and what I would do–how I would play when I was a child.
A realization that brings tears to my eyes. Like Proust… recovering lost time.