Joan Mitchell in Quebec City, second visit.

My friend and I went back for a second visit a week after the first, it had a huge impact on both of us, Mitchell’s paintings are that powerful.

For the record, I am deeply involved with the “kind” of work Mitchell was doing, we shared common friends (one of them made a documentary on Mitchell, Marion Cajori, the daughter of Charles Cajori, a painter with whom I shared a loft during my first year in NY). I am now deeply sorry I never had the privilege of meeting Joan Mitchell in person.

The second visit confirmed the deep impression the first one had on us, and as I was less overwhelmed, I could be more “critical” of her work, and the result is that I came out of the show just as impressed, but moved even deeper.

Joan Mitchell is an immense painter, only Alberto Giacometti’s work has had a hold on me as strong as Mitchell’s, this show in Quebec City is “up there” with my first ever Giacometti retrospective, in 1969, at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.

And fate has it that the next major show in Quebec City will be a major Giacometti retrospective starting in February 2018.

Here are photos taken during this second visit, I am now inhabited by a strong desire to find ways to work digitally (if my health allowed it, I would immediately dive back into natural media, but that would likely kill me if I did).

I can swim digitally in the kind of sumptuous textures and washes and impastos she made her work play with, but the scale (large, but of a human size, one can well imagine being able to touch any part of her large canvases by standing in a central position without having to move one’s feet or climb on a ladder) requires I make serious changes in my workflow, and I may just know how to do that, it so happens it will “simply” require I get deeper -in a studio setting- what I already do when doing live “images - music” concerts...

I’ve talked here about the importance of the body, the gestures that reveal much more than merely “actualizing” one’s intentions, Joan Mitchell is an absolute master of that, her work is of an amazing sophistication, but not a “conceptual” kind, she is immensely sophisticated in intuitive intelligence, the one that can’t be taught or acquired, only “found" within oneself, and nurtured.

She’s a master of that.

This one sums up beautifully how I felt about Joan Mitchell’s work. The friend who took the photo called it “In awe”.

Exactly:

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Thank you for sharing this. Very inspirational! 

   erik

The same museum (Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec) will present a major Giacometti retrospective in a few weeks.

Having the privilege to see that on the heels of the Joan Mitchell historic exhibition is quite a treat, a beautiful and much needed journey out of the dead-end of conceptual art and the farce of visual karaoke.

For people interested in Giacometti’s work (and therefore in their own first-person perception), here’s a trailer of a movie I am very much looking forward to see. It’s based on a small book written by James Lord, “A Giacometti Portrait”, a book which was compulsory reading in all the classes I taught, and the trailer shows that the movie was done by people who did their homework on Giacometti.

My friends Herbert and Mercedes Matter, close friends of Giacometti, were convinced his work was shaped by the sights he saw around Stampa (first photo is taken in Stampa, the second I think drives the point home):


Mercedes and Herbert (who had become Giacometti’s favourite photographer) wrote a book about Giacometti, Mercedes finished it after Herbert died, it is loaded with Herbert’s gorgeous photos of Giacometti’s work.
Here’s an anecdote Mercedes once told me: with Herbert, they were visiting Giacometti in Stampa. While “the men” were out in the garden, Mercedes was in the kitchen with Giacometti’s mother. She told her that she must have been proud to have a son as famous as Alberto was, to which the mother replied: “Maybe, but you know, he is utterly useless around the house!"

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