Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Painting by Gina Disney who lives on the Westside of the East Eastside.The Los Angeles River is like the fuckin' beach over there.

Can you smell the industrial wastelands of Boyle Heights beneath the surface of this painting? Driving home from work in Los Feliz to this warehouse district in a place that lends shape, facets to the words “poor” or “desperate” and especially “bourgeois.” Can you smell that all? Can you see it (the people getting darker the further east you go) in that painting up there? Can you see the painter tossed about and ravaged, approaching the soul’s most outward boundary this ravaging is, and there’s nothing she can do about it. Nothing she thinks she can do about it. Are you getting all that? I’m not either because I must pretend I do not know the artist if I want to try to objectively interpret, however ambiguously, this oddity of a panting you see just a few lines above. Authorial intent holds no weight according to the symbols gleaned from the rubble made by the battles of the churlish, critical canon wars. Shots fired with rancor by fleets of rage-aquiver warriors (Academics). Heaving canon balls from behind the walls of their entrenched, vacuum-like castle fortresses (Universities).

Back to the art (which has nothing to do, really, with Academia).

The sallow red-lipped pale face looks a bit like Hitler, but more feminine, more forlorn, more beautiful because the anguish on this face exudes a sense of knowing. The expression ruts of a straight face belie the laugh, the deep, teary eyed, belly laugh that follows this instant captured in the life of this head that floats around somewhere in the artist’s head. This head is flanked by decline above (“I may be getting uglier”) and further declination below (“but at least my paintings are getting worse). Though getting uglier can be seen as an ascension, a shaking off of vanities. Depends on who we’re talking about. And the criteria! Get your criteria here! Criteria! We’re all out of criteria! Sorry there folks. Just keep walking.

Note the strip of film negative near the top, above the head. Negative imagery. The whole thing is negative. Except the crisp lines on the head and the body. The lines render them cartoon-like. The images become hyperbolic representations. This “Melanchomedy” is a melodrama. But see, it’s not ironic. The painting both mocks and endorses self-doubt and resignation (what it’s portraying). The painting is always poised on the cusp of laughter and reverie. Momentary reverie, but just as momentary as the instant captured here. Miserable (emphasis on the "miser") moments paint better than the fractions of seconds when we actually do feel good about ourselves.

The painter, Gina Disney, works in a converted wherehouse north of Downtown L.A. and can be reached at elscarl@sbcglobal.net


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