Friday, October 16, 2020

Peter Hastings Falk on Tom Blodgett

I just finished reading an extraordinary essay by Peter Hastings Falk in the art journal Discoveries in American Art on the even more extraordinary artist "Tom Blodgett (1940-2012)": 

[He] quietly created an extraordinary body of work ā€” large drawing-paintings ā€” that stand out among the most original and compelling in the history of American art during the last quarter of the 20th century and into the 21st. In 2000 at age sixty he reflected, "I have to realize the transcendence of this kind of place, this kind of aloneness, this kind of being left more than alone. More than I was alone in the 1960s or 1970s or even the 1980s. This new alone ā€” That is more than alone. That is being left. Left. And Iā€™m going to transcend it." Yet when he died of cancer in 2012 he was virtually unknown, frustrated that the deus ex machina that he always felt would somehow arrive to bring him national recognition had never shown up.

That's the thing about the god of the machine. Not being omniscient, he seldom shows up on time, and was late in this instance by about eight years (or maybe only two years, for this essay dates from December 2014). For his own part, Blodgett didn't help much to get the god's positive attention. But I've said enough. For the detailed story of this great artist, click on the article title above, or more conveniently here, and read this astonishing essay.


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