Thursday, August 05, 1976

Aug 5, San Francisco: Untitled Collage (Escaping from a Precarious Structure, or: Leaping into Fear)

I believe I had a nightmare or very scary dream, and began with those feelings when I made this. I was with Bruce at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, where he'd gone for a convention. The hotel was wonderful, but I was having a bout of panic attacks, and I didn't go out much. I'd taken my box of collage materials, and I made a number of them on the trip. This is the original of this particular design. Later I enlarged the pieces and made one that I framed. I think it won a prize at an art event in Santa Monica. I'm sure it did. I didn't like it as much as a number of the other things I submitted. Now I remember, the collage shared second place in Mixed Media with Megan Rice's sculpture, and that's how we met.

Back to the collage. Briefly, it certainly reflects the panic involved in leaping from one insecure position into another. Caught between them. The structure must have been awful, as nice as the top of it looks, because the face in the green is very scary. The person on the horse may not be too safe leaving, but the bird is. It's the "safe place." Most of my collages have a safe place somewhere. The underpinning of the house is interesting in that it's ancient. Ancient ruins, upended, out of whack. Even the pillar, the support, is made of water.

(Scanned and posted September 7, 2009)

Thursday, June 17, 1976

June 17: Untitled Collage with Chickens

This is not one of the good ones, and in fact I almost didn't keep it. I remember making it in the back building of the house at 57 Ozone Ave. in Venice, California. Amazing. The house is still there. I saw it on Google Earth, but there aren't any photos of it online. I'd just moved in with Bruce and his sister, and I was finding my place there, setting up a small art area for myself. The back house wasn't a house, but more like a tiny studio or basement. I can't quite picture all of the details any more. Mainly I remember that it backed onto the alley, and it didn't feel completely safe. But then, I didn't feel very safe, either, trying to get things back together after moving to Venice, feeling unaccountably nervous.

The collage itself is more an attempt to put something (anything) on paper. I had to find my stride again, and it seemed difficult. I was glad I got a few elements I liked - the ancient face, the chickens, a few lines and the blue. Now that I look at it, it the chickens aren't very well protected, but the soldiers really aren't harming them; the threat is actually whimsical in a way. But they are under observation, not quite private, not quite secure. And yet, in a way they may be being protected, too. The computer always seemed out of place and it's the only thing in color. The printing on that bit is bad. I don't know why I put it there. It's monitoring, recording. In the end, there's usually a reason. The dark orange bit at the top is old masking tape.

(Scanned and posted September 7, 2009)