The First of the Departed

Edition of 10 embossed prints with accompanying text for Material Press Limited Editions. August 2010.

Rubbed with water from a bottle to rid chalk and dirt, moss on this headstone stays ingrown; is dry from the heat of the slate in the heat. Clean and dry enough to press paper and rub, I rub. It is a repetitive thing. In translation the epitaph reads as Institutional History as Natural History, as mirrors:

"Art is long," (craft)  

"life is short,"  (vitality)

"opportunity fleeting," (precipitous)

"experiment dangerous," (perilous)

"judgment difficult." (difficult)

S. Lane Faison, the first of the departed in a line of preceptors, administrators, back-room dealers—those who elevate and dismiss, devoted to accumulation and its devoted—invokes Hippocrates for his grave. He cannot mean art will go on forever (regardless of life's going-on) but (implied) perhaps its craft, and the craft of its study (its dissection and understanding) will; will have influence; will, as it has been passed, pass on, within the folded leaves of the cosca (and without): outgrown, in these parts and others known as the Williams Mafia.

I will rub through these grounds for a year. To start in summer on a hot slate I am led to other words from a student and brother and son of this patriarch of men, of Stoddard and Buck and Pilgrim and Wood, of Rondeau and Goven and Lowry and Krens; from Varnedoe, who wrote: “The less there is to look at, the more important that it is we look closely.”