Birdspot. On the road. Drawing birds.

These studies are looking a little too illustration-y, and I will probably work them into an overwrought state of destruction and rot before coming to a point where I can make this medium do what I want it to. Which is something I would never advise anyone to do, and which makes me think about art school wisdom and how I always throw it all out the window. There is something to be said for killing it dead and then doing better on the next one. I usually go a little overboard, discovering some interesting things as I go down in flames…

That said, I will take a deep breath (this is a sketchbook this is a sketchbook this is a sketchbook) and quell my anxieties at posting half-baked or newly embarked-on drawings. This one is of another monkey, is also scratchboard and is also 5.25 x 6.”

16 Responses to “june 6”

  1. This sweet beast resembles a tiny bit a baby Chewbacca.

  2. Of all the many works that Catherine has done, this series is by far my favorite for many reasons, not the least of which is that they speak to the relationship between humans/Rhesus Macs/and experimentation and how we honor and think about that relationship (complex).

    SPEAKING OF WHICH , I am in the midst of booking an interview with MICHAEL S. GAZZANIGA, whom I know you know (what’s a split brain among friends?).He has a new book out HUMAN: THE SCIENCE BEHIND WHAT MAKES US UNIQUE. The first time I came across Dr. Gazzaniga’s name was in frosh Intro Psych at Clark U. One of our many textbooks was a collection of Sci Am articles. Among them was something about the “great cerebral commisure”, or the Corpus callosum. (BTW: a bunch of us started to describe the “not-so-great cerebral commisure”, the “metza-metza commisure” et.) Imagine it being 1968, and reading THAT article! Who wouldn’t want to read that? Stoned, it was both scary AND hilarious, but mostly freaky. Hey we were young. . Well, in fact, we never got to it in class, because this being CLARK U. (Freud spoke here, as well as Jung, as well as Adler, Brill et, and then there was G Stanely Hall and Heinz Werner and Seymour Wapner and his luminous rods) well, this level of NEURO-PSYCHOLOGY was just never talked about much in frosh psych. Or ever, at least then. Of course PERCEPTION was, Psychoanalysis was, and a lot else, but I always really missed discussing Gazzinaga’s article.

    He’s in Oz right at the mo (back soon). Now here’s the really bad thing. I don’t know if you have ever had to deal with people who work in “publicity” in publishing, but it can be a really mixed bag: like a lot of people who seem to exemplify the “summer intern” work ethic. So, yesterday, I ask the person in charge how you pronounce his last name. I have read his name for decades, but no one ever phonetically spelled it out. So this person at the publisher (name withheld) starts trying to sound it out like she had never seen it it before. It was painful. And finally gives up and tells me to “ask him”. Nice.
    SPOILER ALERT: his book ends thusly:
    “My brother closed his list of differences by saying:” Humans will sit behind a computer and try to figure out the meaning of life. Animals live life. The question is: Who is better off, the human of the animal?”
    That’s enough! I am going out to tend to my vineyard. My pinot grapes will soon be producing a fine wine. Am I ever glad I am not a chimp!”

    This is what comes after 400 pages when you mix SoCal +Neurology. Looking forward to talking to him!

  3. Mark L:

    It’s Guh-ZANN-i-guh.

  4. Funny – I emailed Mark and said guh-zaaan-i-guh. Must be genetic.

  5. That or long-term familiarity. I still have a hard time thinking of Mike as anything but a tall brash grad student who couldn’t spell.

  6. And an egotist who does not give proper credit to those to whom the credit is most definitely due.

  7. Betty – are you being facetious? I couldn’t quite get a read on that one…

  8. An egotist, though certainly problematic to colleagues and friends, CAN, at times, make for an interesting radio interview. The most extreme and blatant egotist I have ever met was the artist ALEXIS ROCKMAN. Catherine, you likely know his work and may have met him or heard him speak. I was told by the curator who was organizing his show, that Alexis asked him to initially meet him in a bar. When the curator confessed that he did not know what he looked like, Alexis told him to “just look for the handsomest man in the bar, and that will be me.” And he wasn’t being ironic. And, furthermore, it was true. He was hilarious, but informative and interesting and we did this sort of spontaneous “male bonding” thing that I don’t do, have never done, and frankly don’t really know how to do. I just played along. It was all about “guyz talking art and science”. Alexis forever will remind me of the Warren Zevon line:
    “I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s…his hair was PERFECT.”

  9. Most, if not all, super successful people in the public eye have one of two things in common; they are either extremely good looking and talented, or they are interesting looking and talented (usually with huge heads if they need to be on TV). Ordinary looking folks have it the hardest. They either have to be a cut above the rest in terms of understanding the field in which they dwell, and/or they have to extremely lucky in the way their path unfolds.I think more possibilties present themselves to those who by nature of their physical presence stand out amongst the crowd, giving them an advantage in the competition for attention. So it makes sense that Alexis Rockman would not only know that he’s good looking, but he would know that he stands out of a crowd due to that fact. Blessed be the children of Aphrodite. It’s nice to see the dark side of the nature vs. man conflict in his work. Kind of gives him a little bit of an edge for me.

  10. I fully admit I really like his work too, sort of old style nature illustrations by way of old NIN and Bosch, and very, very funny too (unlike NIN). If you are a natural history geek, he’s your man. In person, he is very much god’s gift to science AND art. Hey, I’d buy him a drink. It would be an amusing competition: who has the bigger ego: Alexis or Jeff Koons. If we could only stage some kind of “ego-off”. And what would that involve?

  11. “God(s)”

  12. Koons vs. Rockman would be a tough call…

    I gave a talk at the RISD Museum on Alexis Rockman’s work contrasted with mine (of all things – we’re in such a different league as far as fame goes, but they suggested it, and I did it). To me, his work is stunningly simple to talk about and almost always disappointing to look at. He just doesn’t have the painting ability of, say, John Currin or Julie Heffernan. I guess I would have to say that I am not a fan.

  13. In one sense I know what you mean: the work looks better reproduced than in person. But so do I. It may be easy to talk about, but HE does talk WELL about it, ad infinitum. RE: CURRIN/HEFFERNAN: well, I find that an oranges/apples/persimmons kinda comparison. Like the Currin, but not a huge fan of Le Heffernan. When you talk with Alexis, you can talk science, and that’s all if you want. Besides, he’s not troubled by nagging self-doubts and other foibles of the wimpy art set. I bet he could take Currin in a drinking contest, or even a raging round of Jenga. We should do a Celebrity Death Match just for artists.
    Like if Anish Kapoor fought Dan Flavin, ONLY WITH LIGHT FIXTURES, who would win?

  14. Depends on whether Obi One Flavin can fight Darth Kapoor from the other side of the veil!

  15. I wanna throw in Jabba the Schnabel…

  16. Jabba da Schnabel: FRIGHTENINGLY apt. Right down to the laugh. While we are casting: R2D2 and C3PO?: Gilbert and George?
    Ewoks anyone? RISD undergrads?

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