Turbulent Indigo

(from 'I sing my sorrow and I paint my joy' by Deirdre Kelly, Toronto Globe and Mail, June 8, 2000)
ON HER VAN GOGH-STYLE SELF-PORTRAIT "I painted it around, I guess, 1993 when I met Don Freed [her boyfriend] -- who's the subject of some of these paintings in the show -- for the first time. And he said, 'How are you?' And I said, 'Undervalued.' [Laughs.] And I was. I was very frustrated at that time because the normal outlets for getting your product marketed in my business, those doors had been closed to me, and no one could give me a reason why. . . .

"So my work was being rejected whereas mediocre work was being accepted and elevated on the basis of newness and youth and, you know, obvious mercantile speculation ran in that direction. So, rather than physically cut my ear off, I did it in effigy. [Huge belly laugh.] I'm not that stupid."

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thespiancool on

I have the poster. You can see WAY more detail about the painting than on the CD cover. Someone who ran a coffee shop that I went to after band practice heard me go on and on about JM to other people. One day, he stared at me and said, "You want this?" It was the poster and the CD. I could have kissed him. It's been on my wall ever since. No, don't ask for it. it's not for sale at any price.

bozito on

Oh, FORGET the downturned mouth!!

I see the joke now!!

You have sliced off the TIP OF YOUR NOSE!! Plus, you have a glass eye and your lipstick is smudged as if the mortician did a bad job!!!


Very funny, Joni!! Very good one!!  [ed.]

bozito on

Your downturned mouth hurts worse than the ear in effigy, Joni, for therein lies the truth and your dissatisfaction with the progress you are making in your career as an artist.
Every painting is a self-portrait. I was just looking at "The Dreamer" of 1964 and John Uren's comments, about how you said to him, "This is what you are, John." I think that's what you said. When we talk, we are also talking to ourselves, continuing a line that we think is sane. I know this because I am schizo-affective and it has "not" always been true for me. Here, "not" means that which is at a conceptual DISTANCE, beyond current theory or debate or discussion or conceptualization -- it's been relegated to a vastly lower priority in the converstion/dialogue. It takes great effort to stay so positive that one leaves "not" and "un-" totally out of their speech and hopefully thoughts.
Pattern-logic comes before regular logic, and it comes before what is perceived as the sense of a particular sense organ, since all sense organs share pattern-logic at root; hence synaesthsia is possible.
Patterns are like the morphemes and phonemes of speech, the raw colors of the palette. They are the little curves that are parts of longer curves and lines; they are the little areas of shade gradation inside larger gradations that are either harsh or gentle in transition. Patterns have to do with movement and distance perception, in terms of both vision and hearing, and also our sense of smell and taste -- how long ago since we smelt or tasted this or that? And touch too of course.

Every piece of art you do is a self-portrait; it is a series of choices about representationalism and relativism. But, more importantly, it is about pattern-logic in reverse: expressionism.

For example, in this painting, you have chosen to go with your Black Crow persona and not with van Gogh's attire in tone -- is that right? His was a lighter cape? His was a lighter painting, a brighter one? But you are not the drunkard he was. So I take it you are not the depressive he was. You both may share a bit of being hypomanic though, given that you are both so productive.

And in general you share his sense of the palette I'd say, for you do not tend to the morose or depressed in your work, and neither did he, at least not in his choice of hues and contrast?

You have made the expression on your face stand out like a gibbon's face against its surround of fur. It is all the more striking in effect but that is evolution's gift to the painting as much as yours, right? Perhaps I am wrong about that.

What I am "not" wrong about is that the face is THE SYMBOL being conveyed, along with the bandaged ear, but only if one understands that context. Else, it could be some sort of nun's habit I suppose. Your pain and insanity do not come through to me at all. You seem hurt in your expression, pitiable, but I do "not" get the fact that you actually copied Van Gogh and cut off part of your ear in frustration and madness. No copycat crime seems to have taken place, to my way of thinking. So it stands in antithesis to itself.
That is what has been conveyed. Is THAT crazy? Perhaps that is. For a genius to use another genius's madness in a play for attention would seem a lot more sane to me had you spent much time in the asylums with us, listening to demons and God explain why you cannot pick up a pencil because it's evil, all day every day, for weeks on end.

Because Euclid was evil to control us so very very much, wasn't he Joni? His pattern logic is EVERYWHERE!! And yet there is "no" such thing as a straight line, "not" really.

And in your bid for immortality, don't you want to control people's thinking for years to come, at least in their regard for you and your principles? Aren't your chord structures a new pattern logic intended to establish a New Order? A New Mythos and Sensibility? And so a new Logos?

But you're wounded because your plan for popular domination is "not" working out? Slowly but surely you've let God into your message, aiming very carefully and wasting no ammo. You are a predator and your prey is God, Artist. That's OK with me, because I understand that God wants to go on vacation. But I am quite atypical; God talks to me and I talk to God, quite often, but the demons can mimic God, so I can never be quite sure if it's God I'm talking to. And I have a rule: NEVER DO WHAT THE VOICES SAY TO DO. That's how people get hurt. God can and does hum or hymn things directly to my soul however, in a way that neither my brain in English nor the demons understand, and I have spent hours learning to listen backwards as they can speak rapidly backwards, but they know so many languages, I had to give up.

But this is "not" about me and my struggle with life on life's terms, as it's presented to me. You are "not" schizophrenic or schizo-affective, are you? You hear melodies strongly perhaps, and verses come from the muse, Art Nouveau, but agreeably, "not" in an antagonistic way that you can "not" escape from day in and day out. Right?

You're very, very fortunate. You walk a fine line.

Whereas I can say I understand that everyone is just humming at each other in languages that constantly slowly morph in meaning and you can grok that easily enough, if I say tht meaning itself has "not" an underlying pattern, you might find that a disagreeable statement.

It's true though. Which is why slashing at canvases with the paintbrush in a violent cathexis or catharis is valid art that you push to but rarely. Nor do you meditate and come to a zen realization that you put into a calligraphic stroke or a few. You get down to the Hums and Om's of mentos when you paint, but are you in the sacred cell, under the pyramid, where the sacred bird sings and the moon drips into the pool of reflection a tear at a time, and every motion is sacred? Are you a sacred dance(r) when you paint, Joni?

In order to ...

Imagine you are a mouth in the Void, and you wish to see or hear. How would you form these other senses? Wish them?

In order to expand your sensory awareness of more of the electromagnetic spectrum, you are going to have to develop a sensory organ or distort the ones you've got.

Schizophrenic delusions are actual physical events in that they are random neural events without stimulus or with it but are "not" related to the external physical world. Oh yeah? BULL.

Said one schizoid to another: "IF you had any sense, man, would you rather talk to a shrink, or God? That's right, think about it!"

Antonin Artaud, Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Proust decided to distort their senses on purpose, as did Poe and Dylan Thomas perhaps. So did you, for a time. Then you let it happen "naturally."

What you have neglected to do is the LOGOS part of it!! You have no EUCLIDEAN SYSTEM of PROOF for your work -- it's all open to interpretation!! Go back and read the "Elements" of Euclid! See how each proof only uses that which is SUFFICIENT and NECESSARY. Mother Nature does so too -- BUT THAT IS "NOT" THE ONLY WAY SHE OPERATES!!!

That's why her patterns are so much more fractal and trigonometric than Euclid's. From the root to the fruit shall ye eat and know the Tree of Knowledge. And the mistletoe.

My son eats leaves and worms and grass. He is a prophet. He is "not" schizophrenic. He quit Oxford. Maybe you should study under him. His name is Ystiddvox, as I gave it to him, meaning the first Welsh God, before Dylan, the God of the Sea. He likes your artwork and Woodstock -- some of your work. He loves Nietzsche and has Amor Fati tatted on one shoulder. Maybe you should meet Yes.

At any rate, the pattern-logic of this painting would seem to be the pain of the moon, or moonlight, symbolically, except for the downturned mouth. I have seen you in the Moon for many years and I have yet to see a downturned mouth there!

I do "not" believe in "not" and I do "not" believe in your dissatisfaction with your life!! That downturned mouth is "not" credible!! Had you painted a great big f'g SMILE, now that would be hilariously INSANE!!

And another thing. "Undervalued." "Poor sad baby."


Willie_Yanock on

My name is Willie Yanock and I am respondsible for some very harsh criticism of her art but this self portrait is a masterpiece.I think it could be her very best work ever. There is not enough room on this comment to express the quality of work. She truly in her past has seen the light of God unfortunately she has been sidetracked by yes men.