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    Copyright © 2014 unruly

    Allan McFee and deep space

    It’s the space between the leaves that makes me shiver, that makes me cry, that makes me need to bow my head.

    Why? Because in the words of John Hejduk, “I believe in the density of the sparse.”

    When I was a little girl I used to lie in bed in the dark and listen to Allan McFee — hey, Canadians, do you remember him? — on my radio. “Eclectic Circus” on the CBC was where I first heard Ry Cooder and a whole bunch of other pretty amazing music, and everything about Allan McFee’s looping, swooping train of thought made me feel shivery and expectant and shivery and charged and shivery and stirred.

    Those were the days before window technology got so goddam fabulous and airtight and prohibitive and censorious. The crumbly old French doors of my room that led out onto a crumbly old balcony stank with frost in the winter, and I would lie and listen to Allan McFee’s odd, skewed, immense intelligence and his mad, perfect playlists and watch the moon on the frost. Sometimes the cold would abate enough that the frost would slide away into nothing and then, since since my parents’ house was a block away from the tracks, I would lie in bed and wait for the night-time train whistle that made the goosebumps come. I would lie in bed and watch the branches of the huge old Manitoba maple that grew at the end of our backyard move in the wind. I liked then, and I like now, that cold music. I liked then, and I like now, bare branches filigreed against an unblue sky.

    So much of what moves me in art is that place — the place where the spaces are. It’s just like those bare tree branches or even branches in full leaf: without the space between there is no way to appreciate the thing that fills the space. The moment of anticipation is a very delicious thing; the moment of silence, the moment of space, is the moment that allows revelation to come.  And it’s not that I’m a minimalist, in any way, shape, or form, because I’m not. I have a collector’s bent, for sure, and my house is full of objects: skulls, typewriters, alphabetica, anatomica, books, and much, much more. But I like and need — no, love and need — the crack in everything that lets the light get in.

    What is absent is just as important as what is present. More important sometimes. That is a thing worth remembering, altho’ I sometimes forget to remember it. But I remember it now and am glad that I do because the density of the sparse is full of epiphanic goodness.

    After Long Silence
    by William Butler Yeats

    Speech after long silence; it is right,
    All other lovers being estranged or dead,
    Unfriendly lamplight hid under its shade,
    The curtains drawn upon unfriendly night,
    That we descant and yet again descant
    Upon the supreme theme of Art and Song:
    Bodily decrepitude is wisdom; young
    We loved each other and were ignorant.

    Broken and from the Neon Graveyard series by Dave Sylvestre
    Broken "and" from the Neon Graveyard series by Dave Sylvestre
    Heart of Darkness, 2004, Cornelia Parker, www.artnet.com
    Heart of Darkness by Cornelia Parker, 2004
    Via artnet
    Unearthed, 2008 by Valerie Hegarty
    Unearthed by Valerie Hegarty, 2008
    Via Guild & Greyshkul
    Martin Klimas photo
    Image by Martin Klimas
    Via Martin Klimas Photography
    Blue Nude by Henri Matisse, 1952
    Blue Nude by Henri Matisse, 1952
    Lowercase y from La Chimere typeface by Atelier Aquarium
    Lowercase "y" from Atelier Aquarium's La Chimère typeface
    Via Atelier Aquarium
    Martin Klimas image
    Image by Martin Klimas
    Via Martin Klimas Photography
    Val Carrol night 6 025
    The place I always want to be, at night by Katy McDevitt, 2009
    Sketch for "House of Suicide" by John Hejduk, via www.cca.qc
    Sketch for "The House of the Suicide" by John Hejduk
    Via the Canadian Centre for Architecture
    IM001337
    Ryerson schoolyard in the snow by Paul Oberst
    lumen print on glass from chaweemek's photostream on flickr
    Lumen print on glass from chaweemek's photostream on flickr
    3 Comments

    heart of darkness is awesome… but not really home-collection friendly, in terms of space requirements, bahaa. still, if i HAD the space…

    and, unrelated, i fell off of one of those junglegyms in kindergarten, and split my lower lip. the crack that let the bloodflow in, that was. <– pointless brain dump. it just reminded me.

    rache added these words on Oct 14 09 at 11:33 am

    I really really love Cornelia Parker’s work. She did an deconstructed garden shed thing that’s seriously awesome. Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View

    Katy added these words on Oct 14 09 at 2:49 pm

    dooood that rules.

    rache added these words on Oct 14 09 at 9:03 pm



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