Seven Lectures





Book Cover

Artist's Introduction




For the visual metaphorist, the distance between the I and the eye is a mindscape of possibilities. Works seem to materialize and actualize themselves in balanced compromise between that which is seen and that which is possible. Visions which obey no laws of physicality within the I's Inner Studio must comport themselves in accordance with the rules and regulations of physical certitudes when objectified within the space of the Outer Studio. Sometimes this transference - this compromise - can be a painful recognition of limitations.

This transfer from inner to outer is no less difficult for the language metaphorist. Though abstracted, physicality persists: gravity, density, flow, cohesion, weight - all exist and must be deferred to in the articulation of language. As a sculptor, I have come to love the tactility of words, the weight of phrases, the balance of sentences, and the infinite subtle coloring and contours of ideas. I love to write. I love putting it down, covering white planes with silvered lines of cadence. Rolling the pencil to avoid a slurring continuity. Erasing and building of palimpsest upon a single word ungrasped. The sweet persuasion of descending mass...and the walking lines of concept.

It is so like sculpture. No wonder in recent work words have begun wandering across the jotting walls of process. There is no barrier to restrain them....

Six of the lectures assembled here were written during the decade of my thirties and, correspondingly, the 1960s; a time of trying to find one's place in things:

For many metaphorists, the 1960s was a struggle for survival. Aesthetics were being replaced by relevancy on the stage of mainstream culture and all participants, whether spotlighted or in shadow, were ensnared in the drama. Cast in the role of effete elitist, I and others were invited, on occasion, to speak - to keep the play lively and, of course, realistic with a few cries of anguish, sentimental complaint, even, perhaps, an idea or two. When asked to speak, I seldom refused.

The lectures are dense, obscure even. Meant to impress. Convoluted at times and often pretentious. I was, after all, fighting for survival amidst the calculated and ruthless devouring of California's art scene by the New York establishment. If there is a bit of the blowfish at semblance here, so be it. I make no apology for being inedible.

The seventh lecture, written fifteen years after the sixth, is a coda of sorts. It lacks both passion and pretense. A "Take it or leave it. That's the way it is..." sort of thing. Obviously, what was found necessary to say had been said: Reality is a creative process.

Robert Cremean