Saturday, September 12, 2009


I occasionally take care of a pair of cats--we'll call them Thing 1 and Thing 2, because that's about how they are--for a very nice kitty mommy who lives down the street from my sisters and goes on vacation (unlike my mother, who is an enmeshed kitty mommy and won't go on vacation, because "who'll take care of the cats?"). Kitty Mommy just went on a cruise to Mexico, and, in addition to giving me gas money and sweet tea to deal with the fact that Thing 1 has mastered the art of turning on the touch lamp next to the guest bed--at 4:30 in the morning, no less*--, she brought me a new friend.

He has some tattoos on his back--apparently, he's into gardening. If I come downstairs at an unusual hour and find "LA Ink" on the telly, I'll know why....

Class, say hello to Gomez. I chose the name because of the glorious mustache he seems to have there; it reminds me of Gomez Addams ("Tish, you spoke French!") and they both have that slightly skeezy smile that manages to both make you incredibly uncomfortable and completely charm you at the same time. He's found a new home on top of my computer next to Bluebird of Happiness and Moon Turtle, right in front of my Stephanie Pearl-McPhee 2009 Calendar of Knitting Win. It might be hard to tell from the pictures (not!) but he's an eye-searing orange and blue tabby with big, cheerful daisies on his back, and I love him. I think he fits right in with both my Weltenshauung and the colors I tend to favor. I'd take him upstairs and put him in with some of my other collected items, particularly the beautiful chalk drawing I got in Puerto Rico, which has much the same color scheme, but last night he started to tell me his story and it's just handy to keep him near my keyboard. Writer's Digest is having their annual short-short story competition, and Gomez strikes me as being the soul of brevity. So far, there are art thieves, street urchins and dangerous, self-effacing heroics involving a leaking dugout canoe and piranhas. Methinks Gomez is also a bit of a braggart, but I have to admit he's a fascinating storyteller. Those "Most Interesting Man in the World" commercials seem to have given him an inflated sense of adventure....

No, it's not blurred, this is an
accurate rendition of the actual painting.

And under the heading of Old Business, this is a picture of a painting I especially loved in Chicago. I myself didn't get a shot of her (mostly because I'd just found my friends again after losing them in the galleries and was concentrating on keeping them in sight), but I remembered her vividly and regretted the loss. She's not available on the website (alas!), but the friend who did take the picture remembered to get the little info plaque in a picture, too. Instead of sending it along with the painting, she transcribed it:

"Lisa Yuskavage
American, born 1962

Angel, 2004
Oil on linen

Collection Nancy Lauter McDougal and Alfred L. McDougal, promised gift to the Art Institute of Chicago, 7.2009

Lisa Yuskavage paints exaggerated, self-aware pictures of women--usually in various stages of undress and in suggestive poses--that compel erotic, voyeuristic interaction. Employing imagery derived from pin-up magazines as well as from an exploration of her own conscious and unconscious desires, Yuskavage's unsettling, indecorous subjects function in opposition to her technically skilled conveyance of light and suggestion of mood through color. While most of her nudes seem ironically trapped in their own sexuality, the poised, monumental, and fully clothed figure in Angel gazes outward with melancholic sincerity. Her stance suggests empowering self-revelation. This almost-classical figure--set in a sublime landscape featuring a still life in the foreground--is based on a model, but can be understood as a kind of self-portrait."

Gods, but I do love this one. It's nearly impossible to capture the actual colors of any painting in photograph, so understand that the colors are a little more saturated in life. And I seem to recall the 'sky' above her head as more purple, but that could be paintings crossing paths in my mind and blending together. In any case, she was one of the paintings that resonated most strongly with me at the time. Reading the plaque info, I'm pleased (I'm all about the empowering self-revelation) that it resonated, and I like the confidence the figure projects. You don't often see images of round women looking confident--apparently, you need to have bones showing to deserve confidence--or so...powerful. She really gives the impression that she is a goddess, she knows it, and she wants you to know it, too. Bow before me, peons, before I pelt you with the fruit from my bowl!

To quote an absolutely dreadful stage play made film that I don't recall the name of now: Moxie. :-)

* I just want to point out it's very hard to be angry at Thing 1, she's adorable. She looks like a cross between a tiny teddy bear and a little fuzzy lion cub. But at 4:30 a.m., when you weren't able to get to sleep the night before because someone was purring like a motorboat and laying across your neck like a slightly outsized, furry garrote, it's re-e-e-eal easy to see how you could get angry at a tiny, golden teddy lion. Just sayin'.

Thing 2 is a story all of his own, perhaps for another post.

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