Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Marks On Paper

by Greg Shattenberg

Marks, my father’s carved blocks leave marks. Marks on paper. Stare at them and search for meaning. Search for a meaning that speaks to life. The blocks are not perfect. They leave imperfect marks. That can be fixed. Make a perfect context. Purchase a perfect context. Then the marks are all right. What do they need to speak of in this perfect world? They can convey the unspoken, they can talk of liberation. Demonstrate the boundless.

These crooked lines call to be touched. Smudged. Rubbed and felt. Senses as restrained now as they always have been. How is another touched. There is nothing to be fixed. Nice neutral paper. Stacked in a pile. The neutrality is a relief. All senses can be invested in the blocks, in the paper, making something containing a content, triggering a content, more than it is. More than a piece of paper. More than ever was there between my father and me. We keep our constraint. Maybe it is contentment. Knowing that something is there is enough. Everything does not need to be saturated with passion.

So the blocks sit and the papers sit. Tools. Objects to be manipulated. An arbitrary deck of given pictures. Not demanding anything, but irresistible in how much can be thrown into them. There is really little to fathom. A step up from arbitrary.

I now want art. Not knowing how to make it, it will have to be stolen. A bit of license, a bit of larceny and off to the races. Separate enough to be manipulated. Close enough to sense some risk. A bit unpredictable and the formula is in place. And no one is there to take back pieces which may not have been given. It is a search for order. Take and give. Hope for cumulative sense. Hope that the relief felt is not cumulative meaninglessness. Relief because it is a place which will not have to be revisited.

The press gets adjusted. The senses are recurring. Variations in paper thickness can be felt. Sometimes the ink lies down perfectly. Sometimes, without thinking, each part goes together as exactly as can be expected, and the colors talk to each other. The ink is saying yes, and the block prints. Little investments in thought staring back invisibly, being cumulative. A bit of language becomes a voice. My own voice is interjected. As imperfect as the blocks and something is heard. No, it is seen. No, it is felt and hopefully there is a song.



                            copyright 2009 by Greg Shattenberg

 Greg Shattenberg is an artist residing in West Paris, Maine.

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