Archive for February, 2011

Wounded Man Series

Posted in On Being an Artist with tags , , , on February 20, 2011 by Kimberly Cooper Nichols

I have recently started a collaborative arm of art with fellow artist and friend Dan Irvine. IN* Projects represents the work we do together when inspired by or common goals to portray social and political messages delivered to the masses via art. Our first project is the Wounded Man/Woman series, extrapolated from earlier work I had done in this realm, and made dual by our expression of both the wounded man AND woman.

Originally intrigued by the historical St. Sebastian image of the “Wounded Man”, we further researched this cultural reference. In our research we uncovered the fact that the “wounded man” was found in a variety of verbal and visual testimony over hundreds of years that, although different in cultural context, all weaved the same type… of experience of being wounded, cut, or “done surgery” upon by people describing their personal mind altered, religious, meditative, or other out-of-body experiences.

A stick-like man with arrows going into his fallen body was found on the caves of Lascaux where it is said shamans submerged themselves for periods of meditation and plant-aided hallucinations designed to go to the unseen realms and carry back pertinent spiritual information.

People who attest to being “abducted” by aliens oftentimes report being transported through their bedroom walls by rays of light that somehow allow their bodies to become molecularly diffuse and then report being taken to rooms where surgery is performed upon them. Another example of being transported n a mind-altered state to a place of physical manipulation in another realm.

This phenomenon is also reported in indigenous cultures that have used energetically elevated trance dance to again transport them to another realm where the physical is disengaged and pure consciousness prevails.

This has also been seen in religious, ecstatic experiences where people have been overtaken by rapture gaining access to visualizations and messages from “God” or “Jesus” and experiencing strange physical injuries such as bleeding from the eyes or hands.

The overall connotations being that when one is in touch with their non-ego spiritual essence, they are then cut, performed upon, healed by connection to this internal energy and forever transformed to realize the spiritual lessons that are elemental to our existence in the physical plane. Many people, after having these experiences, have stated they act differently in the world, see things with new eyes, no longer put such credence upon material things or dramatic negotiations between each other, but feel more of an overall connection to humanity at large. There is a sense that “we are all in this together” spurred by the glimpse into the spiritual realm, gaining access to evidence of a larger meaning to life than just the physical dramas that are acted out daily.

Expounding upon this with the idea that every human being is “wounded” by mere act of being communally alive in this world through the constantly shifting and perpetually relevant social and political arenas we exist within; coupled with wanting to impress upon the idea of us all being in this together, IN Projects has started the Wounded Man Series.

The series debuted on Valentine’s Day 2011 through a collaborative “plop art” project in Palm Desert, CA with two other contemporary artists named Ryan Campbell and Tim Shockley. The three of us decided to join forces, make our own individual “love letters” to the world, that we then plopped freely (without destroying surface or vandalizing) in public for anyone to find.

Dan created a male and female contemporary version of the Wounded Man graphic with the phrase “We Are All in This Together” and printed them on translucent stickers that were then adhered to random pieces of scrap wood, denoting totems much like the primal stick drawings on cave walls and wood surfaces. Raw and unpolished, these were then painted red and covered in a resin representing the fossilization of the pieces. We randomly set eight of these around a public street.

We will continue to create these random wooden totems and place them as plop art amongst our individual travels in perpetuity.

 

A Poetic Interlude

Posted in On Being an Artist on February 3, 2011 by Kimberly Cooper Nichols

There are some relationships, and circumstances in life, that move in a circular fashion – more magical than practical and in perpetual evolution. Starting in one place, then roving through the metamorphosis of years, various incarnations and a refusal towards any complete stop lest the momentum die down. My friendship with Evelyn Posamentier is a keen example.

It began in my twenties while I was the fiction and poetry editor of a punk rock magazine called 3A.M. Magazine. I accepted her words into many issues and we spent many days on the phone – she in San Francisco as a feisty poet/librarian and me in my office/bedroom at noon in pajamas with a rebellious glass of Cabernet. Like schoolgirls we’d giggle on the phone about our refusals to ever become “normal” and “socially acceptable” women. I relished her small chapbooks that she would send in the mail to me. At least twenty years separated us but on the phone in the afternoons in the freedom of our literary minds and private spaces we were timeless; simultaneously girl, woman and crone.

I wrote this poem about our conversations that was published some time ago:

EVELEENA

There are other branches
Other fig trees
Exasperating Donnas
Beautiful vixens
And the Jewish sense of order
That comes from moments
Of intense pain
(This I connect to).
There are other sex mates and
Fancy playthings
And
Coattails trimmed with animal
Ardor.
I know
This to be true, this is true.
There are cats that walk on keyboards
Narcissistic
Wanting footprints+
Are no different from you or me.
(In the desert my voice is perfectly tuned).

A few years later we collaborated on a poem together when we were embroiled in the after effects of 9-11 and the Weapons of Mass Destruction facade; trying to hold energetic hands across cities that connected us to understand our fellow human man, inspired by official documents she was exploring in her world.

RECIPE

When the challenge of democracy
(her challenge)
is the start of a love affair. She
swoops down, the rebel
angel ecstatically diving through piles
of whipped cream and ugliness.
Molding big noses onto prom queens
lipstick grinned from ear to ear
thick hair sculpted white
white muddy
Islam is calling.
I am looking for the caliphate
And she loses herself on the way down
mixed message directions
no turning signals to signify
The ideological hay
wire
corps
the pursuance of justice through social cooperation
and mutual assistance
of whipped cream
and ugliness,
this world.
She learns to wield pliers.
Clipped wings; sewn shut
the wound gaping no more
but throbbing internally; red
pink vulnerable bruise
establishing a non-
autocratic, consultative method of
government and compassion
in social situations.
It hurts.
In the valley between her shoulders
blades gone but loss digging
in retrospect she institutionalizes mercy
and compassion sulks silently.
Mars is close to the Earth.
She will stand there
all night in the rain with one flame
and in one hour
she could burn
every last disco
down.

When I finally met Evelyn in person, it was on the occasion of her reading live at the poetry series called LIVE OUT LOUD that I coordinated for two years at the Palm Springs Art Museum. She stayed with me during her visit and like long lost friends we traversed the high desert for retro greasy spoon meals, thrift stores that sold small ceramic animals and used book stores the smelled like must as pored through the stacks for hours. Like sisters on a wild getaway we indulged our heart’s desires, purchasing whimsical things like new pink erasers for a nickel a piece that reminded me of fresh blank lined notebooks on the first day of school just waiting to be laid with naughty poetry and prose.

As they do, a few more years passed by with nary a word. Until two weeks ago when, as I walked my dog in the morning with red dress dripping with fresh paint slashes, orange flip flops and wild hair, I got a call from Evy in her deep crackling voice to let me know she wanted to use my painting of Flush Bruise for her next book which was currently being published called Royal Blue Car. Of course I was honored, but even more happy to know that life can still move in circular streams and that certain relationships walk parallel on the path, bumping into you when you least expect them to and reminding you that there is a lot of magic in the dance of the unseen muses constantly tip toeing around the intersections of passion, reality and performance.