Sometimes there is a lot to see behind buildings. My walk today, took me to the back of one building where I saw a standpipe arrangement different from others I’ve seen. This dual set of standpipes was just below an alarm bell. I suppose the fire department would locate the standpipe by localizing the sound of the alarm. In this case, however, there isn’t a lot back there to distract them.
My original idea for this composition was to combine a portrait with the shape of a shield. However, I could not see a clear way to accomplish that goal. Therefore this composition shows a shield in action, protecting the unseen from damage coming at it from all sides. It could also be a heat shield that also protects an orbiting spacecraft from burning up in the atmosphere.
This may be the last portrait in the June 2017 series of portraits of and about my older brother Mike.* I don’t think there is much more for me to say, visually, about Mike at this time. Forcing the issue is not a productive endeavor, so for the moment I will put it to rest.
This blog began as a recapitulation of my attempts to make contact with Mike, to understand autism and the brain and the effect he had on my family. The blog focus has shifted to an exploration visual expression to ‘make visible’** my understanding (or lack thereof) of my brother and other aspects of my emotional interior landscape.
Every now and then a new thought occurs to me about Mike and his effect on my family. Mike also greatly affected my younger brother. This manifested itself in my younger brother’s failure to remember much about Mike, except for being afraid.
The portrait below could depict Mike’s fear of the world around him or younger brother’s fear of the world inhabited by Mike.
*Mike is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal.
**Paul Klee, Bauhaus Master stated: “Art does not reproduce the visible, rather it makes visible.”
Saw this in passing. Mondrian’s Rug was really taking a beating.
Yesterday’s portrait showed my brother Mike’s* rage at himself. His self harm would usually involve hitting his head, biting his hand and slamming his arm into his chest. I mentioned yesterday that, when I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s, I was not frightened of him. Maybe I should have been. Mom told me once that she saw Mike near me or my younger brother with a hammer.
My parents told my younger brother and me that they tried to shield us as much as possible from Mike. I didn’t feel shielded, nor did I feel the need for shielding. I always thought of Mike as a deeply complex puzzle. I would almost have welcomed a bit of physical contact from him.
*Mike is my older brother, who is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. He currently resides in a geriatric group home.
The fifth of this series of portraits of my brother Mike* is a bit different than the others. Mike would often display fits of rage, directed at himself. Some docs thought he was Tourettic, others thought it was a behavioral issue. The point is, Mike could be frightening. I weathered the storm and didn’t believe he would hurt me. My younger brother however was scared of him. My parents said they shielded us from Mike. I remember everything, but my younger brother, not so much.
* Mike is my older brother, who is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. He was at home during my first 10 years.
I almost left the doctor’s office without taking a picture of the sign. It’s not the worst door instruction sign I ever saw. The worst one read: “Keep Door Closed at All Times.” I’m on the lookout to photograph that one if I ever see it again.
This one almost qualifies to be entered into the Department of Redundancy Department archives.
I began this fourth portrait of my brother Mike*, with frisket squiggles to sketch out an eye and lips. Jarring the paper side to side and up and down created traces, traces that have meaning. This is almost a double portrait. Possibly it is a portrait of the space between two people, the channel that exists, an impossible channel to cross.
* Mike is my older brother who is autistic, low functioning and has never spoken or communicated with me in any meaningful way.
Here is a standpipe, installed next to a parking garage.
In case they have to put it out.