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June 2nd – July 17th 2011

'The modern work of art is anything it may seem...from the moment it works; the modern work of art is a machine and functions as such'.
(Gilles Deleuze - 'Proust and Signs')

'The diagram then is both form and matter, the visible and the articulable. Diagrams for Deleuze do not attempt to bridge the gap between these pairs, but rather attempt to widen it, to open the gap to other unformed matters and function which will become formed.'
(Peter Eisenman, 'Diagram: an Original Scene of Writing')

You have to start somewhere but where is that? You don't have to think about it, but you can't choose not to. Something else has to take over if anything interesting is going to happen. Call it instinct, call it the unconscious .....whatever that is (Freud is not the only one to have ideas about that) That 'something that happens' is a kind of object, and it doesn't belong to anyone you can't possess it. How do you get from A to B when they are not made of the same stuff? It's not possible to say what caused that thing to happen, and it's not possible to repeat it - because it doesn't belong to you. You have to start all over again, as if you had never done it before.

.....of course, you have memories and ideas, thoughts, theories but (worst of all) everything stops for the image of yourself, the image of what you've done - as if it could ever belong to you? .....So, we need to invent strategies; ways of behaving that allow the outside to come in (a kind of reverse self-expression); diagrams that work with forces beyond the capture of rationality; that work at different speeds; that weave in and out when we expect it least (actually it doesn't happen when we want it to).

'Language is not content to go from a first party to a second party, from one what has seen to one who has not, but necessarily goes from a second party to a third party, neither whom has seen.'
(Deleuze and Guattari, 'A Thousand Plateaus')

What happens to those things we know, admire, desire? Do they go underground when we let them go? Only for them to re-emerge in a different guise? Not just that...within a different kind of object out there somewhere.

Take Mondrian's paintings, for instance, or rather reproductions in a catalogue; or a double spread of Noland images in a high quality Abrams catalogue from the eighties. Not just the images but the act of looking at them, thinking, remembering and wanting to be like those guys; to follow in their footsteps in the act of painting (a female version). Not ironically but to feel the rhythm of the work and to allow that rhythm to make a new sort of painting; not a trope but a figure, that figures all the things that got left behind; the landscape, Rubens etc. That's not an object though, it's a machine that just keeps on working.

Catherine Ferguson, Notes From the Studio


1. 'Reflections on Black'
(acrylic & conte crayon on gesso)

2. 'The Woman Who Knew Too Much'
(acrylic & conte crayon on gesso)

3. Nine Drawings
(crayon /pencil /ink all on paper, framed)

4. 'Modern Times'
(acrylic on gesso)

5. 'Undercurrent'
(acrylic and oil on gesso)

6. 'Pet'
(acrylic, oil and crayon on gesso)

7. 'F for Fake'
(oil on gesso)