Saturday, April 30, 2011


Page 260.
Today I spent hours doing things other than art work, but all of the other things seemed necessary. I did manage to copy another page of Ulysses, and start a new slinky drawing.
There are many things I wish I had more time for. I wish I had time to watch more movies. Movies feel like they should take up more space in my life but I rarely go out to a movie and hardly even ever watch them at home. But tonight I did watch Untitled, a funny movie about the art world. Some of it made me laugh out loud.
I spent some time moving things around in my studio, and packing completed gloves. I have around four shopping bags full of gloves, well over 100. I wrap gloves, five to a sheet, in glassine, put them in a grocery bag, and put the bags in my closet. It amuses me to have bags of rubber gloves with tiny writing.
Maybe tomorrow I can do more than a page again. No hurry though. Who will show these?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Later. . .

Two pages complete, in one day!
Strange words, "imperthnthn, thnthnthn, bootsnout", and all of those in one sentance.
Now going to watch The Killing with my little family. If I had no television I could do another page, even though I have had a vodka gimlet straight up.
Tomorrow, I begin page 259.

A Productive Day

April 28?, 2011
Today, my only obligation was to myself, a very rare, very wonderful gift on a Friday. I had ideas for two drawings that are part of a series I'm doing on very old paper from a very old math text book. I almost began work with writing on the gloves, but decided to do the drawings instead.
Sometimes writing on the gloves can be a form of procrastination. Even though this project is difficult in that it will take an eternity and it's a bit mind numbing, it always feels like progress when I write more. So, I can fool myself into thinking I am being creative even though I am not really...or I am, but I also need to create work that is more completely my own. Since I had ideas it felt right to get to them, see if they would work. I am going to be in a show in September and I feel like I need more work for it, because the drawings/paintings I'm doing are tiny, images above. At any rate, these two pieces came out pretty much as I hoped they would, which is rare these days.
I did get to write on the gloves too. I finished a page pretty quickly. The writing in the book on this page and the next couple of pages are short sentences, sometimes just a word or two. I ought really to be able to complete two pages today, and am on my way to doing that.
So, like I said, I had a nice day.
Of course I did a little housework too. I am terrible at totally ignoring dirt and mess. I didn't go crazy. I did a load of wash, did some vacuuming. But I walked away from the dust bunnies on the bookcases.
Oh, and Kate's dress was beautiful, in my opinion.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011

Page 256.
I was rewarded after all those pages of densely packed type with a page that had only one paragraph, so I feel a little ahead. I wish I could manage two pages a day instead of one, but that is probably unlikely in the near future. Still, It's something to shoot for.
Tonight I wrote on my gloves as my son did his biology homework. We took turns playing music from our respective computers. It's nice...I was able to do more than usual and it gives me a bit of a warm and fuzzy feeling to work alongside my teenager.
The next few pages of Ulysses look fairly easy to transcribe, so maybe I really can get a little more done. I heard on an n.p.r. Podcast that Mark Twain worked from 8:30 a.m. Until 5:00 p.m. every day during the summer in Elmira. Not a lot to distract in Elmira but still, it puts me to shame. I wonder how many pages I could do if I did it all day. I don't think I could do it for eight hours, but three? Four? Did Mark Twain have to make lunch? Walk the dog? Doubtful.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Artist Statement for the Ulysses project.

Oh No! I forgot this most important piece of the puzzle.

Ulysses and the Gloves

            I have begun a project that addresses the crosscurrents between my need to make visual art and my awareness that my world view is shaped by reading (the instigator of empathy) and writing (a source of self-discovery). It has become increasingly critical for me to use words in my work in a meaningful and beautifully visual way. In this new piece I will engage not my own words but those of modernist master, James Joyce. Words once considered dirty; filthy; no better than household scum. 265,000 words so unclean that they were prosecuted for obscenity in the United States, and for 12 years after their first appearance in print, considered unfit for publication in the United Kingdom. I’m referring, of course, to the text of Joyce’s groundbreaking novel, Ulysses.
            My father died in 2007; Ulysses was his favorite book. I remember that he kept numerous copies in our house when I was child, and when he could he went to the annual Bloomsday reading of the book, which takes 24 hours. A reverence for reading—Ulysses in particular—is one of my family legacies; cleanliness is another: work of keeping the house free of every kind of filth.
            It’s from the intersection of these two legacies that my new piece derives. I am in the process of writing the entire text of Joyce’s Ulysses on pairs of workaday yellow rubber gloves—however many pairs it takes to copy the entire book. I expect it will use over 400 gloves in all, and will take me at least two years to complete. It may sound crazy, but I’ve not felt this passionate about my art for a long time; this is something I will do for myself, first and foremost. If others see and share in it, all the better.
            For me, yellow rubber gloves suggest the simplicity and quietness of most people’s lives—especially women’s lives. As cleaning tools they come into contact with the filth we generate on a daily basis, and are designed to protect us from it, to keep our hands pristine, dirt and germ free. Rubber gloves are the objects that not only distance us from the byproducts of human existence, but help us (help working women) make those byproducts—the waste, dirt, dust, stains, stools, footprints— invisible. By contrast, Joyce’s Ulysses called the very same muck to the fore of literature, put it on display, and told us that this is it: this is who we are and what we make. This is life.
            Writing the text of Ulysses by hand—by my hand, in my careful, calligraphic script—on the surface of hundreds of yellow rubber gloves is my way of asserting that we can never really make our filth disappear; like my ink it, too, is indelible. It’s also my way of questioning, like Joyce, whether the soot of our lives really is filth after all, or perhaps instead the raw material of art, and by extension, if the endless, unmeasured and unacknowledged work of women across decades, centuries, millennia is not, like modernist literature, a kind of performance art in itself.
            Finally, this project allows me, as an artist who pieces together bits of found time in a crowded life for thinking, reading, writing, and making art, to create something epic. I am not James Joyce, but the act of writing on the gloves—a difficult and time-consuming undertaking—makes me feel close to him and his words as well as to my father. I speak aloud every word to myself as I write it: an act of near-total artistic and solitary absorption.


April 26, 2011

Page 253.
This has been a long, difficult two pages to transcribe. Most of the time I barely know what I am writing. I memorize two to four words at a time, trying not to make mistakes, though if I do, I just keep going. This page doesn't even have an indentation for a paragraph break. It's just a continuous band of type. I've worked for about forty minutes, but am going to take a break and do some more later. My goal for today is just to finish this page.
Meanwhile, there is a news feed on my television. Big deadly storms in the Midwest, floods, tornadoes. Chatter about the royal wedding (big snoozefest as far as I am concerned). More publicity for Donald Trump who seems to want to argue with every celebrity he can find.
I'm going to try to work on a large slinky drawing I thought was finished. But there is something not right about it. It needs more...words to go on my gravestone.

Monday, April 25, 2011

the Ulysses Glove Project

This will be a blog devoted to my Ulyyses Glove Project. I am copying the entire text of James Joyce's Ulysses on to workaday yellow rubber gloves. I've been doing this for over a year now and I am on page 251. People ask how many gloves I have and honestly, I'm not sure, but probably around 125. I get approximately two pages on each glove, depending on how dense the text is on that particular page. Anyway, this is just the first post. After this mundane start I'll get into the grit of emotions I have while doing this crazy thing, and keep track of my progress. Welcome.