In Which Our Art Critic Returns To His Primordial State of Savagery


The Public Wall

on the paintings of Dustin Spagnola

by Jaye Bartell

If you find a fossil of wall
you can give it your own name.

all and all and all and all

There is no meaning to the final appearance of the wall that is not the simple hum of its interacting layers. All additions to the surface are possible. Concealment is the only erasure. An image cannot be removed from the surface without supplanting it with another image. Think of that wall on lower Biltmore, it shows constantly the argument among its marks. Or the bridge off Clingman, under which the pilings are always talking in mosaics.

There is an aspect apprehended, one line placed and later half-covered by another line. The change is not a distortion of a supposed original, but a thickening, a swelling in the circular pattern of trees. “Fuck Larry” becomes “I Fuck Larry” becomes “ I Fuck Larry Fucks We All Fuck!”

Scourge, of scars, the wound is healthy whereas the marred surface is hereafter always altered.

Laceration, in the way of gauze atrophying, the room unvisited ten years, the curtains disintegrate, windows bear through concealment. Open. And there was before something, the apparent black is nonetheless pieces of black, faceted of itself, made of many. What before gave face, what was covered by the splashing, by the fount of different colors, can again show. Peel a furrow, revealing screams earlier placed, covered in time with lazy paste of complacency, syrup on pancakes of mush, and “lay down, old boy, forget the jawbone in the silt, let the fire relax,”

Your face belongs to the exterior. That freckle on the lift of your cheek is a focal point for the sun which stares through the white plush, though unseen directly. The bulge under the lip of a crooked bottom tooth is a little hill, and the whiskers are grasses. Those hairs are ours, and the little bugs will make benign visit. Think of guarding it with a fence, a constant paper bag of protection. Some kids in the suburbs will slip out the back door unnoticed by their sleeping parents and scale the gate. You’ll find the impressions of their bodies on the forehead.

The wall’s marks are uncontrolled spills, and each drizzle had only the will of its own contents to direct its placement. An arch from one afternoon, a tear of that surface later on. No aspect is older than the other. The image is constant, the firm appearance moves, imperceptible, as a wind. One sees the possible form of a vagina, or else the imprint of a Cherokee arrowhead. The foxing of brush hairs become thin lanes in the composition, a pleat textured, the grain of unfinished oak.

Is there visible beneath the dark suppression the symbol of some gang, the colors of their association, the lettering collectively evolved? There is not one void, blank pure beginning. One noise sounded and its echo was another. The resonance involves every wave of sound and does no discriminate.

Look out the window, its edges are a frame of view. The pine with drooped boughs tasseled, a house, lighter green, behind, eclipsed, and on the down-sloped grass, darker from an earlier rain, stacked with rough boards, fragments from a disassembled fence, stacked on the grass, to be discarded. Sun exclaims through clouds to alter the hue of green and add gleam. Shadow of the house gains definition and fades again with the fading of light. and on and on and on, until the hill, and over that. A particular picture is an activity of attending parts. Do you want to change the view? Blight the landscape to a shape believed to be the proper arrangement? Participation is alteration, and the looking eye is a part of the scene as much as what the eye perceives.

The painting’s surface has its limitations, and the edge is the end of the plane. The canvases are all but wrapped in activity, the angles of the sides participant as the so-called “front.” If you cut the brown worm there are two worms, and both are not the same as their derivation. A brick is its own wall, taken from a larger arrangement, which remains forever altered for the loss of one brick.

The idea is that the exposed surface receives, without resistance beyond the durability of its veneer, the impressions of visiting bodies. The constitution of the United States was written a very long time ago, the paper is brittle and will not accept certain inks. The script for the evening news is graven onto the television’s glass. The wall offers a willing scroll, and any who wishes to make an addition, under whatever risks of law, can make an addition. The cops tearing flyers off the telephone poles are participating also.

The appellants, the respondents, argue on the brick floor of the courtroom wall.

The business owner asserts the beige complexion of the exterior wall he owns. The pigeons leave a tuft of wing, or shit their petition. At the instant of the surface’s beginning, the aging begins, and the weather. Rain and rain, and late noon light, and spit from one walking to work, moss of early April, the grit that blows in the air, film from car’s exhaust, the oil from a palm grazed while walking an afternoon. The suppression of public comment is the repression of the public.

If the ideas of an individual are held impure, the individual is likewise, him or herself, believed to be impure. And people are horrible as much as they are argued lovely. They eat each others flesh in contention. But limiting the interpretation of experience to a single social position poisons the water we all must drink. All the images and all the script on all the walls is fit to print, and has been printed. Each surface contains the archive of its history, as scouring will reveal. There is plaster beneath the wall paper on which someone drew a floating balloon. And under that is more wallpaper. One is not eminent to another. If one is just they all are just. If all are foul they all are foul. What of the swastika, the absurd cock and balls, the painful mockery of anything and everything? On the wall, none have the final word, and the public is a surf that clears the surface of marks, though the sand retains the arrangement in the history of the beach. Any and every possible statement can be stated if its is stated. And any response can likewise come through, and will come through, weather surface is granted or used by force. Hang a cut of the Berlin Wall in the living room, you are joined by the people who have touched it, implored its stricture to fall away. There is no object but a synthesis of occurrence.

Jaye Bartell is a poet and critic who lives in Buffalo, New York. You can find his work in the first issue of CapGun, available for purchase here.

“Cymbal Rush” — Thom Yorke

“Tom’s Lounge” — Rob Walmart

There’s only one Rob Walmart.

Assuming this is the same guy.

“Hope Edition” — My Latest Novel

A band with a website as awesome as their name. (Usually the website’s better.)

“Soul Mate” — Sebadoh

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