Thyrza Nichols Goodeve
on Leon Golub

84 synonyms for ‘scrape’



Leon Golub, Pylon V (Napalm Gate Fragment), 1970. Acrylic on linen, 108 × 28 inches. The Estate of Leon Golub, Courtesy of Hauser and Wirth. © The Nancy Spero and Leon Golub Foundation for the Arts/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

“He’s got the whole set.”
every joint and muscle
bruise
reference
violation
—spot on—

Technique
—meat cleaver—
as war crime.

Golub “paints”
history as atrocity
accretion across a flat plane.

He cuts the torturer’s feet
at the bottom edge
to destabilize?

Goya
Gash
Glean
Gnaw

You could say
the painter’s canvas is a third degree burn
but really
It’s a peculiar apparatusi
portraits made of cut razor inscriptions
in the folds of chalk skin
paint the color of dried blood
there’s even a scab hanging on the wall —
flayed canvas
stitched together
so
abstraction is a bloodbath
in
Golub’s hands.

But if I were to really write an essay
it’s as simple as
this:
a list of synonyms for “scrape”
scratched with a scalpel
(instead of a meat cleaver)
in Golub’s handwriting.

And it would go something like this:



Notes

  1. Franz Kafka, In The Penal Colony (1919)
  2. “Scrape” selected synonym list, Moby Thesaurus

Contributor

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

THYRZA NICHOLS GOODEVE is the Senior Art Editor for the Brooklyn Rail.

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