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June 12th, 2024

Nikki de Saint Phalle had a name for her totemic women: "structures for life." The size of her Nanas were often architectural in scale, requiring scaffolding and the like. She lived in the breast of one of her women while she built her Tarot Garden in Tuscany. My work has slowed considerably this year. Our home is a small one, and is already full of B's paintings, stacks of books, our cats, a candelabra decked out with small penises from a shop in Richmond. I am reluctant to add to this growing pile of items, living and nonliving. A gift is a propulsive thing: a handmade gift more so. And so, here is my structure for life: recycled glassware, epoxy clay. A vessel for flowers, or maybe cigarette butts. She is sullen, crude, Puritanical in her judgements of your moral ineptitudes. She is Gretel from Fleur Jaeggy's Last Vanities, a beast of the field, thick with lust, a calf to slaughter. You could pour ashes into her, or a slug of wine. I read somewhere recently that details are bourgeois, but I don't think so.   

She's a functional woman!

12$ Irises...Bourgeois!!

Goose examines the vessel: "derivative."

I read stories out loud from this book to whoever will permit me.

Marlene Dumas said it's all cheap tricks...

Sat, June 8th 2024



The woman/dog in Bad Dog has just been kicked out of bed, presumably by her lover. There is a clusmy splay to her  body; the eager turn of the head, her foot still on the corner of the mattress. She is pure dog in this pose, crouched in her public punishment. 


Paula Rego's paintings of women playacting as dogs have been on my mind. I

love the stumpy, muscular limbs, the squatted calves, the slavishness of desire that these paintings display. According to B's beautiful Phaidon copy of Paula Rego by John McEwen, this series of works were inspired by a Portuguese folktale told to Paula by a friend. The story is about an old woman who lives alone with her cats, and one day the wind coming through her chimney takes on a human voice, that of a wailing child. The voice says she should eat her pets, which she does.

Some of Rego's paintings from this work border on absurd, silly, maybe because they seem overly self-aware, in on the joke. Others, like Bad Dog, or Bride are lustful, sweet; they display a tender kind of reality, almost a guttural whine: here is woman as pet, discipline as fetish.


Bad Dog, 1994.Pastel on canvas

Bride,1994. Pastel on canvas


Bride features a smallish woman, reclined back, her body contracted as if she is mid-spasm, holding her breath. She reminds me of a puppy on its back, belly exposed, paws eager. These paintings are of women who reject any coyness, any practiced aloofness: they are pure need, pure want. 


A quote from the book (these are Paula Rego's words): to be a dog woman is not necessarily to be downtrodden, that has very little to do with it. In these pictures every woman's a dog woman, not downtrodden but powerful. To be bestial is good. It's physical. Eating, snarling, all activities to do with sensation are positive. To picture a woman as a dog is utterly believable...Women learn from those they are with, are trained to do certain things, but they are also part animal. They have independence of body...of spirit and their tastes can be quite gross." 

Grooming, 1994. Pastel on canvas

Dog Woman, 1994. Pastel on canvas

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