Two Clear Days - Summer 2006

On the 17th and 18th of August, complexity re-entered the work: more movement of my body, remembered there, elaborated itself on the sheet.

But these forms were somehow heightened – even punctuated – as these complex marks-and-moves had learned a lot! Tracking out these smarter moves felt precarious, in the extreme: it was as if nothing was by chance, and yet everything was by chance. (2) I was breathless to get it right down on the page. It helped, though, that these clearer days were also rather cool: with my fan turned of I could better hear, and listen, to the sound of my work. “Listen. Just Listen”.(3) And in that way the rhythm took hold. And it kept me “in that state of perhaps real trance, in which the mind liberated from the pressure of the will is unfolded in symbols”.(4)

1. On a Clear Day, 1973. The title of a suite of prints by Agnes Martin. Matthias Bärmann referred to it in the context of my work, saying, “On a clear day. That’s Linda Karshan weather” (Galerie Biedermann, April 2006).

2. I said this in my artist’s statement, ‘The Assigned Figure, or “existence is a curve”’ in McCully, Measure Without Measure.

3. Studio jottings, ‘Flashing Conviction, Summer 2004’ (6/08/04).

4. Yeats, ‘On the Symbolism of Poetry’. First quoted by me in a footnote in ‘The Greek Thing,’ and thereafer in my jottings

Flashing Conviction, Summer 2004

Staying in stone at least awhile more. Rhythms and movement: following the sound. Te form is the result (of the movement). The plasticity comes from the rhythm; the PACE

11/07/04 - Molloy knows he needs a method but he needs his mind in the game. 

Measure without measure, coming out of the rhythms and movements of the body.                 

Like Michelangelo’s compasses in the eyes; to judge measure and proportion.                               

To perform Quad, it helps to be a dancer – paraphrase of Beckett’s notes on Quad.

12/07/04 - Beckett’s heroes describe lines and curves of relationships. As in The Unnamable.

Printmaking concerns come into play: the clarity of the line matters: and ‘wiping the plate clean’.

13/07/04 - I’m interested in how those marks and traces come into being, and how they have the power to move the viewer. George Eliot tells me how: by flashing conviction on the world (the viewer) through ‘aroused sympathy’.

The length of the line (its measure) is exactly as long as the time it takes to be made. (Te measure of space is the measure of time.)

12/08/04 - Man marks himself vertically: it’s the ground, the earth, that moves. Tat’s what makes the grid, the cross. Tat’s how we get the grid.

It is the purpose of rhythm to induce that dreamlike state.

13/08/04 - A sense of inevitability guides the work (so it must be).

Eternity, and time:

Every dance in time has a sacred model: look at Molloy with his stones.

20/08/04 - And further: Molloy – “but this was only a makeshift, that could not long satisfy a man like me”. Molloy, on turning his stones without a method. Ten: “But to suck the stones as I have described, not haphazard, but with method, was also, I think, a bodily need”. Molloy’s other bodily need is his BALANCE. Leaning into the wind, like a sail, so as to KEEP ON GOING. UPRIGHT, yet “existence is a curve” (Sartre).

Giving the simplest lines meaning. ATTENUATED MEANING.

Drawing through the page with the entire body: much more, even, than from the shoulder. Securing my position, one foot braced behind, in order to move vertically across the page, top to bottom. It’s a dance through the page, not over it.

21/08/04 - Every drawing must contain all that I know, the whole of my experience, as it has been integrated, and understood.

There are so few notes, but so many variations.

The sureness of the rhythm, as experienced in the work, helps to FLASH CONVICTION on the viewer by means of aroused sympathy.

23/08/04 - And listen to the sounds of the work. They keep me in place, and in pace.

26/08/04 - A method, yes, but no plan: knowing gives way to intuition, and to chance, while the organic takes hold in my scheme.

27/08/04 - Karshan’s characters [drawings] describe lines and curves of relationships.

28/08/04 - New table – a door – new sound. Drawing on this new surface is like carving anew. Te surface is soft, but firm; the sound is soft, but pronounced. Breath. It sounds like human breathing. A breathing machine. Rhythmic, repetitive.

Thus the classical form, the classical canon. In accordance with man’s body, his proportions… and the numbers and rhythms of the universe.

I am always choreographing the page: smiling, swaying, but never, never slouching.

04/09/04 - “Two feet walking.” Giacometti, when asked about his studio. Listen to the sound, the natural rhythm



“Standing gracefully upright and alert.” Re-reading Jill Lloyd, Redfern catalogue.

06/09/04 - The compasses in the eyes of Michelangelo, and his architectural drawings made – astonishingly – by turning them around 90° or 180°. For probably 1½–2 years I often think, while working, as I take up whatever existing trace I can muster, that I start of like Leonardo, to unleash the unconscious. But once the numbers, rhythms and turning sets in – takes hold – I operate like Michelangelo. Like a sculptor, or architect. IN THE ROUND.

And the concentration, and the PACE. The plasticity comes from the rhythm.

Again, what is arresting to see now, is how the drawings of 2004 (July and August) remind me of those first ‘grids’ of 1995: it’s the way they sit – lean – on the page. They lean into the wind, so as to keep on going.

“Listening to sound is a sculptural act; the ear, as Joseph Beuys said, is the genuine sense of sculpture.” Matthias Bärmann, in a note to me.

Yes, I listen, I carve, I sculpt. I make my way with exactitude winged by intuition, always leaning into the wind just a little, so as to keep on going.

JUST LISTEN! The ear is the genuine sense of sculpture!