Tobago

Tobago
Horizon at Sandy Point

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

drawing writing

Christopher Cozier was always explaining his art. I cannot see a small bench without hearing his comments on being in school with teachers who had a tambran whip, what it meant to get licks, or be benched. A dark blue shirt jack on a hangar started a diatribe about colonialism and subservience. Not to mention blue soap! To rub off de brown from little boys bodies, and clean dirty words (and thoughts) from rude girls tongues: Ah go rinse out yer mouth with soap yuh hear!

Maybe he should have been a writer. But he has such a great hand at drawing. It's fascinating to see the facility with which he follows a line, with which the image emerges. Plus he has this precise and deliberate way of writing, each letter, each word, sentences unravel and speed after the idea, his thought. And it seems that the recent works - a series that he calls The Arrest - are finally bringing together both of Christopher's strong points, writing and drawing.

The series of drawings that make up The Arrest were blown up on giant transparencies and installed as light fixtures at the Betsy - South Beach Hotel for Art Basel in Miami late in 2013. They will remain until the end of March - if you are in Miami, you can go and see them. They feature words sentences paragraphs whole ideas snaking towards a foot in flip-flops, converse sneakers, or a hand in the air waving or wielding something. Laocoon and crapaud dancing: his current statement on the state of our society. (Laocoon was the Trojan who warned, "Do not trust the horse, Trojans. Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even bearing gifts." He was punished by the gods and killed by two snakes. But Laocoon is associated with the snakes rather than the Trojan who was wise enough to warn his people. )

Each drawing in The Arrest is a chapter in itself. Best of all is the last, "When yuh miss me, ah gone."


The script on the bottom reads: everytime I see one of these trees, a kind of odd feeling comes over me about the time they were planted in the ground and about the content of the soil that feeds and nourishes them -

Put your hand in the air and jump and jump ... wouldn't you like to read all those words sentences in these drawings?



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