Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Monday, June 15, 2020

Family Wisdom

It won't always be this way.


Photograph of older white woman with her eyes closed.
Larry Wolf, Sonya Wein (1970s print/scanned 2020)

My mother attributes this to her mother, Sonya Wein. "It won't always be this way." We interpret this as a wry comment about being present regardless of what is happening. Make the most of this moment. Good things will end. Bad things will end. Who's to say which is which?

Sonya was born somewhere in Russia. As a child, she escaped the anti-Jewish pogroms in the early 1900s with her family, eventually arriving in New York City. All she would say about their escape was the need to keep quiet so as not to be discovered. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Looking Inward Self Portrait Class - 9 June 2020

This week, a short statement, a long list of influences, and five images as summary of my work in this class.

Larry Wolf, Looking Inward w5p1 (2020)


Larry Wolf, Looking Inward w5p2 (2020)


Larry Wolf, Looking Inward w5p3 (2020)


Larry Wolf, Looking Inward w5p4 (2020)


Larry Wolf, Looking Inward w5p5 (2020)

Statement

Looking closely at my aging body. How I am in the world and in my life. Falling apart and holding together. Being surprised by what I see.

Aesthetic

Shadow, Darkness, Radiance, Luminous Emptiness, Visually Crisp.

A dialog of classic portraits with those that are more abstract. 

Influences - Older (Male) Bodies - A Queer Gaze



 

Lucian Freud - Self Portraits ... class presentation 2020-05-26






Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Looking Inward Self Portrait Class - 2 June 2020

Here are the images for this week. Looking at myself.

photograph of an older white male with shaved head and bushy eyebrows
Larry Wolf, Looking w4p1 (2020)


photograph of an older white male with shaved head and bushy eyebrows
Larry Wolf, Looking w4p2 (2020)


photograph of an older white male looking at the camera with his hand at his neck
Larry Wolf, Looking w4p3 (2020)


photograph of an older white male looking at the camera with eyes closed
Larry Wolf, Looking w4p4 (2020)


photograph of an older white male looking at the camera with his cell phone blocking half of his face
Larry Wolf, Looking w4p5 (2020)


photograph of an older white looking at the camera. The image is very white from being over exposed.
Larry Wolf, Looking w4p6 (2020)



photograph of an older white male with a blue sky and green leaves reflected in a window behind him. His shadow on the glass is visible.
Larry Wolf, Looking w4p7 (2020)


photograph of an older white male with a blue sky and green leaves reflected in a window behind him. His shadow on the glass is visible.
Larry Wolf, Looking w4p8 (2020)


photograph of an older white male holding his foot in his hand
Larry Wolf, Looking w4p9 (2020)


photograph of an older white male, resting his elbow on his knee, we see his hand with fingers spaced apart.
Larry Wolf, Looking w4p10 (2020)

Looking Inward Self Portrait Class - Narrative

Learning About Myself - Observation and Aspiration

I am willing, even eager, to come close to the camera, to use a macro lens and photograph details. And yet, I introduce blur or intentionally defocus the image, hiding in plain sight, hiding in the details, or hiding the details. Creating “art” while seeking personal authenticity.

Lost in detail, I find an engaging abstraction, my body as landscape - the rounded hills and valleys of my hairy chest, the wheat fields of my bearded cheek.
Close up photograph of the chest of an older white male
Larry Wolf (2020)
A distinctly white male body, unremarkable, intended to not attract attention, yet, somehow, to be noticed, privilege embodied.. Clean. Groomed. Respectable. Distinguished older gentleman. And.. disappearing.. into abstraction and into ordinaryness. 

I compartmentalize and hide the chaos and confusion that a wider view would show: piles of books, photographs, drawings, camera, tripod, electronics - symbolic and utilitarian objects - a vast sea of the many streams of thought and work. 

From that swirl of activity, I focus on the aging of this body. Though still very much alive, no longer in the radiance of youth, a different radiance is evident. 

Larry Wolf (2020)
Keeping fear, tears and heartbreak at a distance. The current pain of police killings of black citizens and the structural racism deep in our culture. The violent deaths of queer people, the erasure of relationships and gender identity. The raging pandemic with continuing deaths and societal mismanagement. The systemic dysfunction of our healthcare system paid to do more rather than to do better; to address individual crises rather than proactively ensure public health. The endless cycle of economic meltdowns that increase disparities. The relentless colonization of the planet and the rising tide of climate change. The lack of any real safety in people or organizations dedicated to compassion and healing.

I have lived decades in the utopian hope that it gets better, that now feels so false. I have abandoned the spiritual tradition of my ancestors and the meditative ones I chose. Now, to be open, questioning, curious, while creating. There are no answers, only the illusion of knowing.

My past contributions have felt both substantial and irrelevant given the large context of a violent society, the limits of my (and anyone's) knowledge, wisdom, power to act, and the essential unpredictability of the world.

The only certainty is that we will die, each of us, every one. … Personal losses, lovers, parents, teachers, sacred places. Parts of me, of my history, have died, and others survive. The parts that have been repaired, the parts that are still broken, and the parts that are yet to break.

I make peace in tiny pockets of sanity and beauty. I find healing in small repairs and replacements. I want a way forward to a remembered joyfulness of being. To embrace the pain, the fear, the tears, the storms, and to open to a deeper appreciation of warmth, compassion and nurturing. Buddhists call it luminous emptiness. What do I experience?