there's some in my life;
some in yours."
my son, Adrian Henderson,
in 1991, when he was 4 years old
'Green Fire' is a multi-media project - about creativity. These paintings, drawings, videos, poems, writings are leaves, twigs, branches, fields, furrows, mountains, and light breaking through, and divine and demonic creatures, real and imaginary. A surreal multiplicity. An organic creativity. Towards an ecology of earth and imagination.
'Figure,' 2013, Brenda Clews, 24” x 30”, ink & oil on canvas.‘She dislodges her memories
into pulsations of desire.’ A line from my poem, “A Floral Opera” (2011), the first poem
in the video below, Tangled Garden.
Tangled Garden, a triptych of Nature poems (22:04min)
-A Floral Opera (2011)
-In the Hands of the Garden Gods (1979)
-Slipstream, the Tangled Garden (2006)
(with impromtu speaking between the poems, which each end with ~~~ in the subtitle track.)
Beautiful singing by the musician, Catherine Corelli mixed from her album, Seraphic Tears (2010)
Note: This video is subtitled. Click on the CC on the play bar to activate or de-activate
the subtitles. YouTube will also automatically translate the subtitles into 25 languages
if English is not your main language and you would like to get the gist of the poetry.
Chthonic goddess of the greening earth. Wrinkled, like tree bark, painted, an exotic glade. Process, the recycling of Nature, life emerging from death. An organic art. The mask's fronds as if growing out of the forest floor in the Spring. Papier-mache, mulch: paper, or leaves. The face as landscape; the face carrying the landscape with it. Flower colours framing her face; the iridescence of insects, sheen of dragonfly. Feathery wings, plumed serpent, vestiges of living vines. A vision of a Nature spirit, a Midsummer Night's Dream. Shaman of the forest. Tutelary guide in the rainforest. Jungle of the imagination. Then the Surreality of the sky-blue mask on the greening gold fields of her face: I offer you a masked mask.
direct link: 'Green Goddess,' a dance in the woods for Summer Solstice
A video of the painting of the Tangled Garden Painting
direct link: Retreat to Beautiful Objects
When I retreated to my world of beautiful objects.
She was a dream, not the mask but how I composed her in Tangled Garden.
A vegetative force, Nature, birth, life, death, decay, mulch, compost. Beautiful and frightening. Strange dreams, the unknowable body itself. Life consuming life to live, plant or animal. Cells fuse to make new life, new connections, new hybrids. Wood/trees; metal/circuitry; bone/grafts; skin/love. Teeming presence.
I come from a jungle, the nature I write of is not pastoral, pretty. A fibrous network of vast connections. Natural processes. We are Nature looking at herself through her own eyes. This slip of consciousness viewing the universe for a knowing moment, soon to be lost. How can we forget the hungry ghosts, the floral opera singing in us?
An ecology of consciousness. An understanding of the parasitical and angelic. Leave the savageries. Our worlds of beautiful objects call us to retreat.
Tangled Garden Painting, 18" x 24" compressed charcoal, watercolour pencils,
a touch of acrylic but mostly oils on triple-primed 100% cotton canvas sheet.
Bountiful Garden (a Summer Solstice ink painting), 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", 2011, Moleskine folio Sketchbook, sized with Golden GAC-100, and painted with watercolour and India inks.
(a test panning this painting became a 2012 New Year's video.)
LANGUAGE IS THE CAGE THROUGH WHICH I EXPRESS MY PASSION, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", 2011, India and acrylic ink, gel pen, oil paint on Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4 prepared with a base of acrylic matte medium.
'Fluid Dreams in Green: The woman who is trying to break free. Rising.' 21cm x 29.5cm, 8.25"x11.5", India and acrylic inks, oil pastels, acrylics, Moleskin Folio Sketchbook A4.
"...there is an ecstasy of emotion here. I feel
it pour out as a glory of supplication
'Wing of Chrysalides,' 2011, 20cm x 27cm, 8" x 10.5", India inks, oil paint, oil pastel, watercolour pencils, Moleskine sketchbook.
He stands between two worlds; he is about to leap. His wing, of chrysalises. In his hand, a green butterfly. He is nearly undifferentiated in the green as he straddles the blue where he is clear.
On him, glued, a piece of a shopping bill: 'Please retain receipt for purpose of completing the online survey.'
Another piece of the receipt, which hangs like a white fish, or perhaps only a rhythm.
- The green fury of Spring is nearing like a virescent bush fire. The sumacs are pregnant with multiple bud births.
- Rain the colour of green seaglass falls far inland.
- ...it was a dawn of phosphorescent algae, coming in from the ocean, drifting overland,
a green sun
hung in icicles.
- My wandering thoughts crumble in the reflections of a mirror placed between landscape and white sky.
- out of the continual hum, I grasp my fragmentary words, speaking, momentarily, before they slide into the murmur that is everywhere
- Slow, meticulous cutting of patterns, sewing. Each second is a stitch; each hour a finished seam. Our lives are the garments we wear.
- Rain pounding, my sticky heat-riven body wet-soaked, like the laughing people passing by. Water criss-crosses the drought-white grass.
- The plum, dark purple skin, pearl yellow flesh, firm, a sharp juice, releases sweetness to the tongue, like swallowing the moon.
- I stare at Inca stonework. We carve away at sections of ourselves, until we fit, until you couldn't drag a knife through us.
- On my walk tonight I saw men flying sideways through the air in overcoats and bowler hats, graphite pencils gnawing on their shin bones.
Haiku-like images for AROS
'Lady of Green Fire,' 20.5cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", India inks, Waterman sepia ink, acrylic inks, gel pens, oil paint, oil pastels, watercolour pencils, Moleskine sketchbook.
A Venus arising from a sea of leaves. A green garden goddess. Perhaps she is Spring welcoming the sun. Not fully clothed yet. Or the Woman Clothed with the Sun. Yes, I like that.
Dinosaur Book of Green Furor (2:34min)
And the dinosaur’s book is green fury.
Promethea's curls and flanks, her energy, combustible.
Promethea has been dancing on the 200 billion year old
dinosaur skull in the glass box that hangs on the wall
since the beginning. Petrescent, converting into stone,
from water. What isn't liquid suddenly flows.
Like lava. Boiling.
Ancient skull without skin, or legs, or beating organs.
Body without organs. The body whose. Stone. Whose
bones are petrified. In fine volcanic ash, for billions of
years. I can read pathways on your bones, a scored
map of the earth, embossed hieroglyphics. Your garrulous
breaking voice in the sparking dust of fireworks, like
millions of dancing fireflies, an exploding outwards.
Your carapace is prophecy, what bends time in on itself,
grounding. You are earth stilled to wisdom. Ancient,
shell of secret signs, messages from the eons.
Mesozoic creature. Who lived happily on the
banks of the stream that was blocked by volcanic mud
creating a 12 mile lake that lasted for another 80 million
years before volcanic eruptions buried it.
Where is your riverbank? Slow mulching of sweet
grasses, sipping freshest of fresh water, dear ancestor.
Another bit of corporeality in the drama that began billions
of years ago when we all, our possibility, came to be in
the expanding light and the fiery dust that settled
into our solar system, and into the earth, and into your
exoskeleton, with its oracular markings, star charts,
which is now rock, condensed history.
"I am writing it just behind the burning bush, by the light
of your blaze," says Hélène.1
And I see you, remembering the warm fertile lush land
of 200 million years ago, growing a body, organs beating,
a fury of blood, following Promethea across invisible
mountains, down hallucinated valleys, into the heart
of the volcano that continually explodes,
bursting you forth.
Notes: 1The Book of Promethea by Hélène Cixous, trans. Betsy Wing (University of Nebraska Press, 1991) (quote used, p.23)
This video poem was featured at Moving Poems, an "anthology of the best videopoems, filmpoems, animated poems, and other
poetry videos from around the web" (check it out if you haven't already).
Look, perhaps I am outrageous, but at my age, seriously. I can do anything. Besides, I'm masked. And, anyway, my daughter was chaperoning me.
From a video shoot in High Park in June.
All this will be obscured in a long videopoem, Tangled Garden
, of three nature poems that is 22 minuters long.
Painting my vision trees (8 min)
|direct link: Painting my vision trees (This video is subtitled. Click on the CC on the playbar.)
A time-lapse art video. I thought to paint some trees of significance to me for the Festival of the Trees which I hosted on my blog June 1st, and so hooked up the camera and recorded. The footage is sped up 1200%!
The voiceover relates a tree story. The magnetism of certain trees. A story of my vision trees. About finding home through those trees. The voiceover is perhaps a bit loose - I begin by reading a piece and then just start talking - but I wanted something colloquial, expressing the extraordinary in the ordinary, a vision in a rambly monologue. It's a real story. I hope the way I've layered it into the video works for you.
This painting is my first landscape, maybe ever. I'm a figurative artist normally. But these trees are special.
The music is by dear Pierre-Marie Coedes, 'City night hubbub (instrumental)' from his album, "Lapses of Time." Pierre-Marie's music is a complex, sensitive interweaving of instruments and rhythms, and while eminently listenable, reveals riches on closer listening. Do check out his oeuvre at Jamendo.
If you're interested in the process of painting, I talk about it in a blog post here.
whaleskin, 2011, 20cm x 25.5cm, 8" x 10", India ink, graphite, watercolour pencils, Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4.
a recording of the prose poem
Anchored in my mind all day, a koan. What in death does not die? I brush a wash of India ink onto paper. Ground burnt bones thickened with resins. Words in the wet wave. Words in the black tusk of the whale whose skin swims with algae, barnacles, skeletal memories of cattle, the backbones of live fish in the orange sunset that beaches the creature like a hammerhead of knuckles. The creatures of the world fight for their lives. In the mass extinction. In the radioactive orange water into which the sun has fallen. The salty sludge-lined ocean, layers of plastic bags hugging the sand, shopping for the moment. It was a Zen moment. What in death does not die.
Werking on Green Fire, though obviously I was
using Photobooth to snap photos. ⁰‿⁰
Thinkers lead the world, truly. Philosophy lays the groundwork for future scientific and technical inventions. We have Facebook and Google+ because of Deleuze and his rhyzomatic laterally connected vectors. Without the thought, what can we invent? The model gives us a possible range for our imaginations to fill.
Commerce would be dead without art. Commercial artists offer the power of art to commerce and are its fire, its core. Without advertisement, products wouldn't sell. Everything would flounder. Ad campaigns are merely the surface of this huge creative reservoir that we draw on on this extraordinarily creative planet.
This green fire.