Writing Off the Walls 2022

Creativity in the age of CoVID

Brought to you by Studio Theater in Exile & Hudson Valley MOCA

Universal Survival - Edward Currelley

Based on Norbert Schwontkowski, Ende der Welt, 2005

The universe gave birth to the stars and planets. Theoretically the origin began by a series of cataclysmic

eruptions in the great beyond. Something we refer to as space, infinity of existence unimaginable. My point

is Universe as mother or simply womb. Planets in infancy like glass marbles tossed across asphalt. Beautiful

embryos awaiting recipient and the miracle of life, where why how doesn’t matter. A concept in all its complexities

shapes and forms, with one very basic objective, survival, the most natural of all instincts. We’ve

found, or rather it’s been demonstrated in millions of instances how life bounces back. The tree or plant

thought dead, bearing fruit and leaves the next season like unyielding mother. An animal in the wild severely

wounded mending itself with only nature at its side. Millions of years, a nano second in time and space,

prehistoric life is birthed from the earth’s ocean womb. Grand children of universe, born to slither, crawl

and finally walk, be it four or two limbs. Traveling great distance to spawn and spread. Exquisite, inquisitive,

entities yearning to learn grow ultimately evolving into innovative self sufficient creatures. We’ve learned to

utilize raw materials for tools, weapons and instruments of wonder for growth. We’ve also become reliant

on one another as community and family. The rise from prehistoric culture to civilization and progress

has turned. Access, greed, power and supremacy have brought human beings to our present condition.

Apparently we’ve learned nothing of nature and a mother’s will to survive. We have under the auspices of

advancement, with blatant disregard for nature and its natural resources. Have and continue to methodically

drain them in abundance, for instruments of convenience and war.

Plant life, water, oil, all of nature’s life blood abused. Human beings like a virus attacking an immune system.

Wouldn’t the earth as a living organism fight to sustain itself, protect itself as any living creature from decease?

Perhaps the earth is trying to survive, to protect its other more appreciative life forms. This with no

other choice than by destroying what has become an infection that threatens her very existence. A mother

in nature will sacrifice one child to preserve the lives of all her children. Is that what the planet is doing?

Curing its self, self preservation,

Are human beings earth’s virus?

Go West, Young Woman
by MaryAnn McCarra-FItzpatrick

Based on Norbert Schwontkowski, Ende der Welt, 2005

Go West, young woman, and see

the thick tributaries, once rivers,

now roads, thrumming highways, that truck goods to

your door, the ripened strawberries

for your breakfast, the shoes on your feet

Tough-whiskered Yanks, Irish too,

and Chinese laid the rails joining our

two coasts, metal ringing upon metal,

sparking fires of creation, of industry, of

building up to the sky, rather

than reducing to a blight of cinders.

Criss-crossing the patchwork quilt

of corn, soybeans, barley, wheat, oats, the barns

of lowing cattle, squealing swine, cackling hens, the

hum of honeybees hard at work, an orchestra of the

outpouring of America released by

human hands tilling the soil, these

notes sing still, through the days and nights,

a world never-ending

Your speech/ is yours/

And it/ is free/

This is/ the way/

It was/ meant to be/


Feel free to navigate through the tabs to hear the recordings/poems of Universal Survival and Go West, Young Woman. The recording/poem are based on Norbert Schwontkowski's painting, Ende der Welt, 2005.

Based on Norbert Schwontkowski, Ende der Welt, 2005
Ende der Welt, 2005

Norbert Schwontkowski

German, born 1949, died 2013

Ende der Welt, 2005

Oil on Canvas

40.5 x 60 inches

Norbert Schwontkowski challenges artistic categorization; his work falls between abstraction, realistic representation, and cartoon. He created his paints from hand-ground pigments mixed with various materials to yield a multitude of textures. Schwontkowski also added metal oxides to the pigments, creating shimmering surfaces that continue to change over time. His palette of pale earth tones, blacks and grays creates a muted, subdued atmosphere, while his carefully worked surfaces and minimal gestures demonstrate his sophisticated paint handling. Schwontkowski’s work is often described as playful yet melancholy, and naive while still mature. https://www.miandn.com/artists/norbert-schwontkowski

Schwontkowski does not presume to know the contours of our anxiety: he just shows us his, refusing to elevate it, and supposes that ours is equivalent. Nor, as a painter, is he a downer. His handling is wristy but muffled, flash also held back, and, on this evidence, he was continually inventive, refusing to duplicate motifs and even sometimes – in very late works like the neon-lashed street murkily atmospheric, mostly figurative scenarios, using painting to wrestle emphatically with existential disquiet and a neo-Romantic sense of the numinous.https://www.apollo-magazine.com/norbert-schwontkowski-kunstmuseum-bonn-review/

Norbert Schwontkowski was born in 1949 in Bremen, Germany. He attended Hochschule für Gestaltung in Bremen, and later became a professor of painting at the Hochschule für Bildende Künst, Hamburg. Schwontkowski has regularly exhibited in galleries and public institutions throughout Europe since the late 1970s. Most recently, his work has been exhibited at Williams College Museum of Art, Williamston, MA (2013); Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin (2011); and Kerlin Gallery, Dublin (2010). His work was included in the 2005 Berlin Biennial. He is in the collections of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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