Wednesday, April 15, 2009

when rust never sleeps...

rustlady

rustlady detail

a couple of weeks ago i bought a small lot of damaged photographs because i could see that one of the images in the lot was a tintype of a guitar player. like everything else in the lot, the guitar player tintype was thrashed, but unfortunately not as beautifully problematic condition-wise as this small cabinet photo of a woman circa 1900. the decorative pattern of decay formed by the rust or mold or god knows what, is simply one of those organic things that happens regularly that makes those of us who spend our lives trying to make a decent painting humbled for a good month or two.

before cage was writing about chance and nature's manner of operation, strindberg was writing about such things, and before strindberg it was leonardo. obviously artists have been arm wrestling with nature over the creation of something beautiful, and with this little gem i bow to nature in one of its most masterful strokes. on some level it sets the whole idea of intentionality on its ear.

if you are interested in such moldy blemishes of beauty, you should check out doug harvey's blog. doug has done several performances of his collection of moldy slides, and they are truly some of the most beautiful things i've ever seen.

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7 Comments:

Blogger grace said...

There is no denying the beauty in such a natural process. What a find!
Love the blog, Grace.

3:02 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

indeed it was a nice surprise...thanks for taking a peek.

8:34 AM  
Blogger ArtSparker said...

She also appears to be levitating.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Matty Byloos said...

Just found your blog Steve. I tend to get a bit obsessed with the paint spills on the floor of my studio, and think perhaps too much about making a painting on the wall with a piece of paper underneath, then chucking the painting and making something out of the drawing.

4:53 PM  
Blogger j. Winkel said...

Nice. For years I have advocated collecting photographs with no regard to condition. Pristine, "handle with white gloves" prints lack the warmth, surface, authenticity and proof of old age, a hard life and truth. It might be my folk art background, but I believe age and flaws often make a photo more beautiful and desirable, not less.
http://dulltooldimbulb.blogspot.com/

6:45 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

hi j.
thanks for the note. indeed i am a BIG fan of patina and age, and it plays a big part in what i like. mint condition tends to be overrated, with records as well (i do buy a lot of 78's). the handling of an object gives it a history, and in cases like this one, the insanity of how beautiful the mold or rust pattern makes, what would be a relatively ordinary portrait, incredibly beautiful. i've scored some amazing photos for no money because a corner was missing, etc. on some level you have to wonder why someone collects old things but wants them to be new... thanks for dropping by to take a peek. i've posted about things in "poor" condition before, so you might dig deeper.

6:59 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

hey matty, thanks for taking a peek at the blog. definitely there are times when what's falling on the floor is going a hell of a lot better than what's staying on the canvas!

7:00 AM  

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