Uh... Nicely, nicely, nicely...undone.
When I wrote poetry, I would begin with a line (talk about stating the obvious!). But only with that, only with a line. I would begin a poem with, say, this line: This is not a line—this isn't poetry. The entire current of what I'm addressing here has shifted. Bear with me. I was—
Why painting, why not writing?
So, I am going to tell you something concrete about the process of making art, which was my stated intention when I began this writing, I had intended on writing about.... Well, that is just redundant. This is what I wish to say: After much struggle, I have finally acheived something I had been aiming for, without knowing how I would—
This unbearable sadness....
This morning, I have it in my head to discuss my absence of heads. Someone said to me, "But what does it mean?" and I replied, lazily, I didn't know. Look, I've been making things up my entire life, and these things I make up, they are poems and plays and now paintings, I do not just make them up for myself, they are not confined to the esoterica of my imagination, although certainly they spring from it, although I do not think that is their primary source, I cannot give a name to that source, I believe it is outside of me, and I am just sensitive enough to not only intuit it, but to listen to it and to openly respond to it as well, that is to say, to stay in correspondence with it despite its demands and punishments, which are not insignificant and which far outweigh, I believe, the rewards of being possessed by and in possession of such sensitivity. There are few rewards. But I cannot remove my sensitivities, I was born with them. To be sensitive, to be hypersensitive, that is no doubt the primary condition of being an artist. It is not an easy thing to be. It is neither pleasant nor comfortable. We are responsive instruments. But I am meant to be addressing an absence of heads! I have been doing this— Look, I have been doing this for a very long time. I have given up the sort of normal life most people have in order to be responsive to whatever it is I hear, or intuit, or however it is I correspond to and with whatever larger thing it is that guides me to do what I do. I do not create things with the wild randomness of a ranging animal. (Although instinct does play its role, and it is sometimes a starring role.) If you were to look at the entire body of my work, I am certain you would find it coherent and cohesive, making its own (internally) logical progression to a terminus that hasn't arrived yet. It is a giant body of work. If I am making paintings right now of bodies without heads—let's be precise, of female bodies without heads, there must be a reason, even though I cannot necessarily be relied on to tell you what that is. But my unreliance is my laziness, it is not my stupidity or lack of insight. It is me taking a small holiday from the rigors of what I do, because in fact, it means so much, it is a meaning that is a suitcase that holds the accumulation of all that I have done over the long course of my life as an artist. If I am making bodies without heads, I am telling you, I have earned that right, and it is not without meaning. I am happy to discuss it; in fact, I welcome the opportunity to discuss it, but I cannot give an offhand, quick answer: It means this. There is no one answer to give. It is also true that perhaps I do not yet fully know what it means. I think that is also a condition of being an artist, to be comfortable with ambiguity.
I think perhaps I've inadvertently established a fundamental reason why my failure to let a certain well-known and sort-of-long-dead artist seriously influence my work—hunh? Why must my syntax be so tortured? Let me try rephrasing that. I have established, I think, why I have been unable to let a certain well-known and sort-of-long-dead artist seriously influence my work. I do not think it is necessary to tell you which artist, for I do not think I am obliged to reveal the soft heart of the bones of—