David Abbott

Available realities

His work "adds to the stock of available reality"
John Berryman on R.P. Blackmur.

When we read fiction a world is created in our heads. It's the world the author has written but of course it is also our own invention. Your version of that world will be similar but different from mine. When a film is made of a book we oftentimes say "it's not like I imagined". But sometimes it is. Most of the time the film version supercedes our own to the point where we can't recall that ephemeral world we created ourselves directly from the pages. I can't remember what my own imagined version of Narnia was now I've seen the (various) films. All these versions are part of the same reality and I think this is what my work is referencing. Something between memory and fiction. Something between world-building and life through my own eyes.

Some of this is about point of view. When I think of the Recording Britain painters I wonder whether they painted what they saw of Britain, what they wanted to see, what they couldn't see or what was disappearing (per their brief). In theory their paintings are records but records really of what? All painting is invention, but I would characterise my work as being explicitly about invention as well as exploration of the real/fictional spaces of memory, perception, culture, desire and observation.

De Quincey, who had internalized Wordsworth's poetry, had been taught to see that vision. It had been 'wrought' in poetry first, created from the dark materials of human imagination and language. Who can say how much is "there' in nature, and how much is made by our shape-imposing minds?
From Weatherland by Alexandra Harris

PS. That John Berryman quote pops into my head all the time. It has become foundational to how I think about creativity and I find I reference it everywhere.

July 7, 2022

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