Dear Adam, on the first day
I’m happy that you are in Germany pursuing your engagements within and outside pedagogies, but it really sucks that you were not at the opening! I and we missed you. Visitors were very curious about “What did Adam put in the show? Where is his work?!” I would sort of chuckle and reply, “Well, it’s in his CV, with the others.” When I returned to the space this week with Andy Robert (about which more later) I noticed that alone among the printed CV’s, your was lifted. Some eager fan, not understanding that the art of your practice is in the experience rather than the object, must now imagine they hold a precious artwork. I’m laughing because we both know that a studio visit would be more the work of art than a printed paper representing your practice.
Aah, but about that sparkle in your eye that we all missed at the opening on Saturday – despite my best attempts to mythologize you, Adam, as pure intellect walking, when we finally met and talked you laughed and made jokes, and well, I recognize once again my foolish need to find ease of relating and safety in myth. If I can tag a person I can contain them in my mind. (Have you ever read Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time?)
The painting I made for you and gave you before you left has an eye, roughly painted on the verso of a paper towel that droops from the top, and hangs over and hangs down. A marriage of two paintings via an intuitive gesture of ripping apart one painting and attaching the parts in other ways to other paintings. The eye was chance, the labyrinth below it also, but together it felt like you. In the days before the show that eye became a fixation to me (it stands for so much in my life!), as did a need to make more Adam paintings. My thoughts of you boiled down in those moments to the eye, as observer. Hmm, observing is a subtle form of action, Adam, and I believe the subjects of your percipience would do well to understand observation as active. There is, of course, the notion of awareness of being observed and how it may alter behavior, see Schrödinger and more, but beyond, or in addition to that, looking also directs attention. The conversations that accompany your looking investigate these points of attention, sometimes exhaustively – you are noted for your supply of energy when it comes to looking, talking and asking – and because these are conversations, studio visits, etc., your observation becomes a shared experience. But even understanding you as I do, you remain enigmatic, Adam.
I made two more paintings with rough eye-shapes and titled them with reference to you, they act as surrogates for your presence in my work for the show.
I met yesterday with Andy Robert, who I understand you know. Andy and I became acquainted at Human Resources, when I visited Helga Fassonaki’s exhibition (http://notesonlooking.com/?p=13544). Andy and I chattered about his projects, about Helga’s show in the gallery, and then I scraped myself and bled a bit everywhere. It was unnerving, but Andy handled it like a trooper and grabbed paper towels to clean up. There’s nothing like spilt blood to make fast friends!
While talking with him at our recent meeting I learned that Andy is among the CalArts students whose studio you visited this year. What a delightful coincidence!! When we got to JB Jurve, Andy kindly asked about my paintings and was interested to learn that each is a gift to, and is dedicated to an artist in the show. Such a gift is vulnerable, I think, yet these paintings, with their sweet natures, function as building blocks for relations – or as pictures of my dreams of community.
Andy asked if any were available for a trade, and of the several I indicated he chose the one pictured above – not knowing it was dedicated to you. His trade was to be a drawing of me, made later after lunch. In our further conversation while he sketched, I learned that young Andy has possession of a certain portrait of Adam Feldmeth – one which, to his disappointment – you chose to refuse on the grounds that, “Why would I need a picture of me?” You rock, Adam, and more tables are turning: The above “Portrait by Andy Robert of Geoff” is now hanging at the Jurve, next to Andy’s painting by Geoff that is dedicated to Adam. Andy will give me you, and – when the exhibition is done – I shall mail you me. Life has never been better.
(Imagine that Minor Threat “Salad Days” is playing, and bounce around. I am.
Smiling fondly and from JB Jurve – I am yours,