essays and paths of thought
Pat Passlof: To Whom the Shoe Fits
Letters to Young Painters
Edited with afterword by David Jacobsen Loncle.
Pat Passlof (1928–2011) was a distinguished painter in the abstract expressionist tradition, who studied with Willem de Kooning and was active in New York's downtown art community from the 1950s to her death. Passlof was also a teacher. Passionate and opinionated, she taught at Richmond College, CUNY, Staten Island from 1972 to 1983, and at the College of Staten Island from 1983 until the year before her death in 2011. Passlof was a brilliant writer, and continued her teachings in letters to students. David Jacobsen Loncle was one of Passlof’s students, and a close friend. In the course of gathering material for a book on Passlof, he assembled a group of her letters to young painters commenting on their practice, which the Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation has now published as a small clothbound book. The letters are accompanied by a group of nine drawings Passlof made in the late 1940s and early ‘50s as a student herself.
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Are we not taunted? Just beneath the image of ourselves there boils the raw uncertainty, that exposed, turns our minds so quickly terrible. Rendered sores ooze with the impossible iridescence of a shock upon our sight saying: we have nearly realized a truth our wants will keep from us. The shimmering surfaces beg time to blanket change with air’s dust while beyond, no matter the distance, squirms the restless question: which am I? And more roughly still: am I neither?
The Leaping King Akimbo
Link & Excerpt:
. . . these images provide complex visual experiences and often compelling conclusions. There is the sense of arrival following extended interrogation: How and what does it mean to paint and make pictures? This imperative seems to emerge from — and continue into — the paintings themselves where themes and painterly affects transform in their role and countenance. Passlof is testing, tasting and discovering a range of expressions as yet uncongested by the onslaught of superficial simulacra that followed the popular successes of Abstract Expressionism.