Diptychs – 2009

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Folded leaves, hinged tablets, altarpieces; pairings, couples, partners, conversations; dialogs, arguments, struggles. Things that come in twos and interact. There is a binary structure with its dialectical dynamic everywhere. In dance it is the pas de deux, a step for two. In the world of social intercourse, it is the tête-à-tête, a private conversation between two. Wonderfully the tête-à-tête is also a sofa built for two, curved such that it allows two persons to converse face to face when seated together. Saussure pointed out that one word has meaning as much because of its difference with another word it is paired with as for its own independent truth. And in every case, the conditions of the one, coupled in discourse or intercourse, with the conditions of the other, create a relationship, which is a third and new thing; a dynamic whole.

 

Just so, the paintings on paper in this ongoing series are ‘diptychs.’ They have a left image and a right image, but together they are constitute a total image in conversation and tension: an implied triptych. One image begins with a mark, which in turn calls for a corresponding mark either in agreement or refutation in its partner. One color begs the eye for a different color, whether for harmony or dissonance. One form is open and receptive; its neighboring form may be closed. A quick or shaky line desires a slow and steady one. Complexity summons simplicity; confusion yearns for clarity; boredom demands a riot. These are material conversations, dances, double armchairs for the eye to rest in, built intuitively through call and response. These diptychs are made out of play and pleasure and desire.  They suppress as much as possible those other kinds of pairings coming from politics and violence.  They reject those other pas de deux, those other head to head tête-à-têtes, the ones created out of deadly, not fecund, differences; the ones instigated because two cannot sit down together and be face to face.  Instead, the diptychs in this series celebrate life, energy and pleasure.