Lot #70: Paula Panich, Directions for Attaining Knowledge of All Blue Things, 2019

Paula Panich, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Directions for Attaining Knowledge of All Blue Things, 2019
Monotype Printed on BFK Rives 22×30-inch paper on an Albuquerque-made Takach tabletop etching press
Image 22 x 15.5 inches



No literary or intellectual intent goes into the studio. I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work. I love monotype because it is best when the unconscious is in charge. I listen to music and sometimes even talk on the phone. My hands hold the wisdom; the busy part of me is occupied, and the hands are free to heed the call of things I don’t know about, am not aware of. The lightning-quick way of monotype removes motive and intention. At least that’s the way it is for me.

But because I am also a writer and a reader I can’t help but to think about things.
That brings me to the poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters on Cezanne. He wrote these letters to his wife, the sculptor Clara Rilke, in late 1907 on the occasion of a memorial exhibit in Paris to Cezanne. (Cezanne had died the previous year.) Day after day Rilke stood and sat before Cezanne’s paintings.

Rilke writes things about art that make me swoon; especially, the “enormous aid the work of art brings to the life of the one who must make it . . .”

Rilke invents language to describe Cezanne’s blues: an ocean of cold barely-blue; listening blue; densely quilted blue; ancient Egyptian swallow-blue; bourgeois cotton blue. You get the idea. What about the skies of New Mexico? Think about it.

I began my serious practice of monotype in 2009. I work and have worked with and on paper in other ways for two decades.

I’ve been a professional writer for thirty-five years. I moved to New Mexico from the middle of Los Angeles in November 2016. I was widowed three weeks later. Everything has been about blue since.

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