Monday, October 6, 2008

Wreck of the Hesperus

I talked to James about a new drawing I've been ruminating about for awhile trying to figure out if it is too silly to even admit thinking about. He said it wasn't. After seeing the new Keith Haring documentary a couple of weeks ago at the Roxie I thought about what my symbols and semiotics are. Things like the orange foot popsicle I ate in Spain after almost drowning at a pool with my parents(my first memory, I was 2), or a packet of Marlboro Lights (the cigarettes my dad smokes), or milkweed bugs or silene ecbalium (the subjects of my parents' dissertations) all come to mind, all symbols from the visual vocabulary of my growing up. So I just made a drawing of 135 combs and it's making me think about my relationship to them and why I decided to draw combs beyond the fact that I found one in the street while walking down Valencia with Sally. Before moving to Portland, I always had really long hair. Mimi used to send combs to me in the mail while I was in college-- whole packs of them-- begging me, pleading me to groom periodically. My camp counselors during the summer would have to bribe me to take showers and brush my hair before going home. My mom would sit down with me for mutually frustrating sessions of detangling. I should clarify, at this point, that it's not like I was even that opposed to being combed-- I just didn't like that people were bugging me all the time about it and seemed like they should be able to love me asa raggamuffin if they really loved me at all. During these one-on-one preening sessions my mother would use an expression that my grandmother had apparently used on her-- that my hair was like the Wreck of the Hesperus. It was just one of those things my mom would say all the time, and it was only in college that I actually had the thought to look up the etymology. The Wreck of the Hesperus is the title of a poem written about a tragic shipwreck where the captain of a ship ties his daughter to the mast during a storm in an attempt to save her from being blown off the deck. I'd like to collapse all these layers of the story into one drawing of a shipwreck in a seascape of hair. It's a new kind of project and I'm excited about seeing where it might go.

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