Telling the bees
"(...) beekeepers have been known to endorse quotes like the one attributed to Albert Einstein: If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years left to live.
Now I must quickly say that there is no good evidence that Albert Einstein actually said this. In fact he most assuredly did not. All you have to do is google “Einstein bees,” and you’ll get the whole story: how this quote surfaced for the first time in the early 1990s, long after Einstein’s death, and in contexts far removed from the possibility of verification. Moreover, one must note the fact that, genius though he was, Albert was a physicist, not an entomologist, and everyone knows that it’s entomologists who are the real authorities on this matter."(2)
The leave vote
"Britain has voted by a substantial margin to leave the European Union. The picture that is emerging is of a heavily polarised country, with remain areas coming in more strongly for remain than expected, and leave areas more strongly for leave. Geographically, Scotland and London have voted overwhelmingly for remain, but outside the capital, every English region had a majority for leave."(3)
"Writing tablets have been used for several millennia, long before paper was readily available like today. In ancient Greece and Rome, wax tablets were very popular. These were small, book sized wooden tablets that were hollowed out on one side and covered with a thin layer of wax. (...)
Writing on the wax surface was performed with a pointed instrument, a stylus. Writing by engraving in wax required the application of much more pressure and traction than would be necessary with ink on parchment or papyrus, and the scribe had to lift the stylus in order to change the direction of the stroke. Therefore the stylus could not be applied with the same degree of dexterity as a pen. (...) The entire tablet could be erased for reuse by warming it to about 122 °F and smoothing the softened wax surface. The modern expression of “a clean slate” equates to the Latin expression tabula rasa." (4)
Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew
"(...) But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly" (5)
"Daedalus had been imprisoned by King Minos of Crete within the walls of his own invention, the Labyrinth. But the great craftsman's genius would not suffer captivity. He made two pairs of wings by adhering feathers to a wooden frame with wax. Giving one pair to his son, he cautioned him that flying too near the sun would cause the wax to melt. But Icarus became ecstatic with the ability to fly and forgot his father's warning. The feathers came loose and Icarus plunged to his death in the sea. " (6)
I thought I read somewhere that Agnes Martin's graphite lines were reminiscent of handwriting. As if instead of drawn, they were written. Something about the shakiness, the imperfection, the repetition and the interruption. I loved the idea, but lost the quote.
"Martin's work is nothing if not an index of her hand, the sensitive response to imperfections in the canvas' weave, the famed "tremolo" that is guarantor of the artist's presence" (7)
"By examining the grid closely one can see many imperfections in these apparently sharp straight lines; something so seemingly perfect yet flawed by a human hand. At times the pencil tip appears to glide along the relatively flat primed canvas surface. Then it will encounter irregularities within the surface and will rise and fall erratically, visually softening the line. In places the pencil tip veers off course completely for several centimeters. The artist may take a second to awake from this meditative drawing process in order to lift and reposition her pencil tip back on course. The viewer has only a subliminal awareness of these variations. They fail to derail us from looking because some of these flaws may have been deliberate, asymmetry and asperity being necessary for truly encountering the Buddhist idea of beauty" (8)
Not all pieces of this series are represented on this page.
- Katz, Jonathan, as quoted by Lovatt, Anna in In Pursuit of the Neutral: Agnes Martin's Shimmering Line, in Agnes Martin, 2015, Tate publishing, p. 101
- Barker, Rachel - Morning 1965, in Agnes Martin, 2015, Tate publishing, p. 90