Saturday, January 06, 2007


I do not now speak for anyone -as to the what of 'outrage'. Only as to myself. I do not go so far as to think beyond today. There were yesterdays I believed I was The Everyman" but not now. I do not infer a truth for me representative of all humanity. So then to speak of outrage", it is to say I have dissected it out for myself. The roots of my outrage follows vectors spun from forgotten but now resurrected specifics. We all tell singular 'my-life' stories, parsing the vectors (strands) to tell or hide. It contextualizes the point we're trying to get across, the referent for the selfportayal we wish to tell to communicate. What I relate here is about 'outrage.'

I speculate and have speculated as to this in my art, (mistakenly) assuming myself as an Everyman.

I'd forgotten that I did not see myself as an Everyboy. None of those boys on the streets were like me -their mothers did not demand them rollerskate on the sidewalk where no other children played, skated, rode their bicycles (which I was not allowed to have.) finding myself the new kid on the block, the only 'Jewish' kid ... among the gentiles (the goyim) whose mothers welcomed me to their kitchens, served me cookies. And on whose living room furniture I could sit on. One good thing was that I was not forbidden going to their houses. .... at Bernies, in his living room, listen to 'Don Winslow of the Navy' on the radio. (Ah Bernie, where are you today?) Did I seethe with outrage when I was eight or nine. I did, I remember, during my adolescent years!

I acquired my capacity for stoicism. I'm amazed now, awed by that. To the child, it was unimaginable, no alternative responses to be had. It would incite mother to a horror show of reprisals, seething anger and a trespass never to be forgiven or forgotten, accomplished zilch, nothing. I shed tears to learn not to.

Withal the above, my parents claimed they 'loved' me, and I ought naught but loved them in return. I tried. I tried, but could not make them proud of me at things I loved to do. It had to be what 'they' wanted. And I would never quite bring myself to that. I was an egoist full of egotism, revolting at my winning their approval on their terms.

My father would say, "well, you know your mother, the way she is." Would say this many times during my growing up, -as to this he meant "But what can I do? Mother is the way she is." This was not his fault, but merely fate ... Fate was Millie hen-pecking him. This man wanted no aggravation, just peace and quiet when he came home at night was my role model.

To Millie, it was about 'fault' and 'disappointment' -and I being a burdensome child. About not appreciating what a sacrifice she'd made, what a wonderful woman she was for putting up with me. Marrying my father, being my nurse maid. Enough, said.

I was an embarrassment. My not getting good grades in school, not knowing how and when to keep my mouth shut in company, saying the wrong things, not behaving like 'the devoted son'. Such it was as to who she would have wanted me to be and eventually become: it just didn't get across to dense little me -though It was continually enough drummed into me. For Millie, my destiny was to be her eventual caretaker in her old age. That terrified me. These were the tendrils of what the word 'Outrage' denotes now to me. Few now are my tears. (The ducts dry up.) These many years, outrage has been 'Inrage' ... a playdough in my art molding 'pornography'. The roots (vectors) charged / energized by 'inrage' is my defiance, my art refuting societal taboos.

Such, is the story I tell, the explaining I do to myself of the legacy I experienced: this art I do, the work ('doing me') embodies., at the core my 'inrage' as 'outrage'.

From another perspective, it is out of my disorientation and confusion that my art addresses what I the child presumed was unthinkable to consider. It was with and of the 'obscene' and 'Impermissibility' (I called 'My Pornography as Art') that I rediscover 'Outrage'. Yes, 'the child' was dealt a lousy hand to play Life's game, born to a father who hides my mother from me. keeping secret his divorce and remarrying. He'd replaces my mother with an impostor, a horrible and henpecking woman. I was not a happy child, nor allowed to promulgate any sense of my own sanity.

But, this art I have done and do, is about the mysteries of 'The Obscene', and my cure, my rescue....

To be cont'd.


Blogger Mirjam said...

What struck me about the first drawing you have included with this blog entry is the electric blue rectangle in the center of it. It was like looking at a mirror, but before the reflection of the viewer becomes visible. The geometric shapes reminded me of how Cezanne saw geometry in nature. The pulsing of the colors and shapes in this drawing also reminded me of the force of electrical impulses in nature, including in our own bodies.

January 10, 2007 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Norman said...

Thank you mirjam.

This drawing was made decades ago. This was during a period when I was actively engaged in doing artist-in-residency programs in the school districts of Long island. You can find more about my 'Geometry Through Art' work at a website built for me by Swarthmore college and is now maintained by Drexel University in Philadelphia. Look it up in Google.

January 11, 2007 at 4:10 AM  

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