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Emails to my Therapist

He Does It His Way

Turning through an old Utne Reader last night, I came across a stunningly bold artist: Wolfgang Laib.

One site I checked him out on called him a Post-Minimalist. Never heard of that before, but I’m in favor.

What Laib does is take materials like milk or pollen or rice and use that organic life-generating stuff to create an imagethat’s as simple as a rectangle or a cone.

The picture I saw last night was a large rectangle on a stone courtyard floor made of yellow-gold pollen that looked like a block of sunshine. I couldn’t believe how radiant it was, and that it wasn’t electrified. It glowed against the gray. (He collected every grain of that pollen himself, and that’s an important part of his process.

He also makes glossy white surfaces out of milk on marble. Eerie-looking. Moon-ish.

Imagine telling your father that’s what you’re going to do when you get out of college. Or your spouse. Or your art dealer.

But it’s astonishing work. Painter like the Luminists specialized in representing light. This guy seems to be working with the actual substance of light.

(I told husband Bob about him artist this morning. He murmured, “Jackson Pollen.”)

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