Unreal Nature

June 24, 2016

A Delicacy of Means

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:34 am

… Geometric figures lose their weight and use their newly discovered lightness to become affectionate memories of a modernism already passed into history.

This is from Mary Heilmann: Save the Last Dance for Me, by Terry R. Myers (2007):

… “Each of my paintings can be seen as an autobiographical marker, a cue, by which I evoke a moment from my past, or my projected future, each a charm to conjure a mental reality and to give it physical form.” Two things stand out from this statement. From the beginning, by choosing to use the word ‘can,’ Heilmann makes it clear that she does not require, or even want to ask, that her paintings be seen in this light. More importantly, by including the possibility of a ‘projected future’ in the mix, Heilmann lets us in on the not-so-hidden secret behind the most pleasurable aspect of her art: you can make it up, but not out of the ‘whole cloth’ of an absolute lie.

Heilmann_SaveTheLastDance
Mary Heilmann, Save the Last Dance for Me, 1979

[ … ]

“She uses a delicacy of means to alienate the modernist programme and thereby analyses it at the same time — a tactic that makes her one of the most explicit representatives of new, postmodern painting. A small gesture, a visible brushstroke or some drops of paint in places where our normal historically distinctive perception would not permit it, create a great distance to modernism. Such alterations seem to let the air escape from an overblown, self-assured attitude. Geometric figures lose their weight and use their newly discovered lightness to become affectionate memories of a modernism already passed into history.” [Martin Prinzhorn]

My previous post from Myers’s book is here.

-Julie

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