Acceptible Gestures

Two of my brush & ink drawings will go to New York for the fall exhibit: one of birds – called Joyful Reunion. The other is yet to be chosen. I would like it to be one of the frolicing nude dancers; I can still dance in all my glory across the clean white surface of the paper. I can shake off age and modesty and flaunt my mental image of myself. Small nippled breasts on a body full and powerful and free – head thrown back in the moment  of release. Probably another nature study will be chosen, easier on the eye of the beholder. You would think that in New York… Yet inclusion will be decided by one person whose main interest is my artist father’s artistic vision of the natural world. My drawings of birds, cats, trees, rabbits and flowers are closer to the supposed source; more comparable, I suppose. The human depths and indiscretions of their creator are better left to the imagination. I suppose that even my wire creations are too evocative of earthly struggle: twistings and turnings and tangles make up the finished form. The dancers, even with the wings of angels, have breasts and abandoned postures. The doing of them requires some obvious effort, before the doer finds release through her creation.

Ah well… I wax a little plaintive here. Some slight cynicism comes to light. I shall think of the Isadoraish dancer on my piano – moving continuously, bouncing sunlight off her silvery curves. I had bravely volunteered her brightly balanced flow of movement, thinking she would convey more honestly the force of Leiflife: past, present, future. Who I am: the coiled and tender strands that work together to produce the generous and expansive whole. She went un-noticed among the images I sent.

Yet it is good that she stay with me for a while. Her delicate and slow-motion twirl – within the circle and arc of wire that  support her dance – is a gift that catches my eye throughout each day. Affected by the changing light – the shift of air, she teaches me to trust the dance I dance.


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2 Responses to “Acceptible Gestures”

  1. Kendall Says:

    Being related to a person whose work has gripped the popular imagination is a double-edged knife. You know it has always grieved me that your mother’s memoir is subtitled “Memories of Walter Anderson.” I curse every time I see that, because her book is so much more than that. It’s HER life, and her life was so much more than her troubled attachment to him. But the marketable interest in him made her book worth the commercial risk, and without that, perhaps her book would not have been published at all. Your being his daughter got you this invitation, but your being his daughter does not guarantee an interest in the woman, head flung back and nipples rampant, who you ARE. Sometimes I think people like your father’s work for all the wrong reasons. I think some idealized sanitized rosy-eyed bullshit about “nature” being “comforting” or “uplifting” feeds the interest in his work. How he would despise that. In fact nature is brutal, and it was to him and it still is (to you, to me, to all of us–there is nothing very uplifting about the truth of aging or its alternative). I think of the time-bombs buried in DNA, the roots and fissures in the brain fed by chemicals that get labeled anything from “mental illness” to “mood swings” or “intensity,” and I think about the wonder that any of us survive at all with any of our integrity intact. I hope the person who chooses art for that exhibit finally will choose something that’s about YOU and not about HIM, but we shall wait and see. And if they choose another “nature” picture I will not be very surprised, and neither will you. Grrrrrr.

  2. leiflife Says:

    Bless you for this intensely real response. After writing the blog, I went to my table with a larger than usual brush, and DANCED my morning honesty onto the page. Interestingly, one of the drawings is called Pure Joy. I have sent two dance drawings and two nature studies. We shall see.

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