PhiladelphiaThe Fabric Workshop And Museum
May 15 – Summer 2015
Ode to Neither Here Nor There
One could associate the crease of his octagonal clothes
With Georgia O’Keeffe’s and Agnes Martin’s facial geography
Evocative of Santa Fe’s dry topography. I came just
To treasure the imperfection of corners meeting,
To engender each of their physiologies.
In “Purple Octagonal” and “Second Green Octagon” the five nails tickle
While stretching tenderly their heavenly bodies.
In “10th Cloth Octagonal” the four nails are there to gently float in space.
Someone asks, how can you move forward without a destination?
He always says, “The work is labor seen.”
Someone else says it’s enough to generate movement
With different shapes that each carry their identity.
I, too, declare loudly I am myself yet I am you and
We’re the totality of where we have been and where we will go.
Don’t you notice how fragile yet assertive each section is,
That builds our universe? It, too, embraces light and dark
When we all turn seventeen, and maintain
“A space for you, or a space for it.”
The “wire is free to travel” to either here or there, or neither.
Those far away octagonal miscellanies claim gravity is
Deceptively visible in “The Present.”
Awesomely lit. Cryptically harmonious. Are we to marvel at the
Knotted carpet? One that resembles a forest seen from above?
A poet says it’s permissible to be “Clutter.”
Here again we can see the whole orchestra in
The front row playing its heart out. Walking on Air
Is attainable when one is under-over and over-under.
I like to recall “Ten kinds of Memory and Memory Itself.”
“The Right Side of Summer” sets Joseph’s mousetrap
In Robert Campin’s “Mérode Altarpiece.”
Concurrently have you ever seen spun plastic sing?
Specifically sing the lyric “Space–Is–Concrete”? Ask then,
“Where are you going?” I’m fifty and still Looking for the Map.
The one that leads to Piero’s “Resurrection” at Museo Civico
In his hometown Sansepolcro.
Purple Lilac—Perceived Obstacles—in seven centralized figures
Stand vertically against their horizontal fields.
He says “not a thread too short to be a line.”
She says “not a thread to short to be alive.” Don’t you see
Everything we’ve created together from our previous lives
Is dancing in many squares of the summer?
I guess he/she is enlisted for her/his “individualism.”
How deep and low in the water must the line be to catch
The Fiction Fish? Will it also swim high in the sky?
Patience is the necessary virtue my friend.
If you look closely you’ll see how each square is squaring off
To the other in a broken rhythm from the top down.
Like Bruegel’s painting “The Blind Leading the Blind” of 1568,
Surely, you can say the same of “How it Goes Around the Corner.”
“System III” and “System II” Stephanie just said,
And how extraordinary, it was made just for her. Matisse
Would have been delighted to welcome him in his Vence Chapel.
Hello, have you seen sheetrock dance freely on and above
The wall before? At the moment
When Pressure Exceeds Weight. The color
Is there to dovetail the dance. Kathleen, too,
Is dancing with them. I, too, am as happy as
The dancing sawhorses who “squiggle” the “planes” in “26 Page.”
Electrical outlets, temperature control fixture, too, are all
Inspired to dance. “You see ‘Green No. 6’ again” Josh says,
On the wall and on the portfolio, Purple lies next to “Costume.”
I quote now directly:
“I’ve done a year, a day
and now a week.
speak from the whirlpool.
You are what is in you,
All those friends, poets,
of days, poets of ages.”
My partner and I agree indeed.
“Nature could be a line
And Spirit would be a color.”
The artist has written a poem of:
“How they unify without
anything teeth are without
anything chewed are
you (chewing) go ahead without anything
Call me missy I could put his house a fire.”
Moving from a spectrum of grey to a variation of base colors,
I remember vividly the last time I saw these prints at
Bowdoin Museum. Here in the old city
They have changed ever-so-slightly
In salute. At the Fabric Workshop, 1214 and 1222
Arch Street have never been as happy as at this moment.
PHONG BUI is the Publisher and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Rail.