Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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April 03, 2008
the pull of "gestural causality"

The immortal Mr. O'Hara:
     "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."

cf: habit torwards diachronic viewing of abstraction?

Which mark came first?

Which part was background?

Which then forground?

Where the overpainting?

Where the scraping out?

Which molecules of color closest to the canvas?

Which suspended farthest into space over gallery floor?



Appropriateness of succumbing to temptation to attempt to work backwards from surface appearance of the finished product in hope to reconstruct precise series of prior creative steps? To view the process? To track the moment(s) of --
            "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

Superficial -- the urge to reconstruct the gestural in its sequence?

Avoid 'gestural causality', by which I mean avoid using 'thus' or 'because' or 'therefore' to suggest a causal relation where none has been otherwise established. . . .

There are such links to be made, but instead of being made they are being gestured towards.
from Robert Clark's on-line style book of scholarly English

Can each mark be considered as the "explanation" of its successor(s)?

As cause explains effect?

Should final order of striation be reduced to chain or product of temporally successive decisions?

Should reconstruction of sequence (e.g.) be mentally conjured up -- as if a narrative -- to explain & destrangeify the finished product?

                                                                                                                                                                                    (the genetic fallacy)

Peel away the layers? Run the film backwards?

Or should the tracks, when covered, be left respected as obscured?
(e.g.: It is impossible to tell which part was painted first, to distinguish the copy from the original. For the artist, the main objective of this method is to escape the subjectivity of the initial gesture (-The reduplication allows me to cool any gestural or instinctual act.-))

OTOH, attempt to reimpose (em)bodiedness on the would-be immaterial via the conjuring up in the mind's eye of the gestural process seems to push the static or sculptural further towards    dance?

Bah! And bah again!