Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I don't know exactly what to say

I found out today that Chris Dayman died...in December of 2004. I only met him once when he was the guest artist at my college in 2003. His work was on exhibit for a few weeks and he gave a lecture about his art and experiences. I guess he - and his work - made a bigger impression on me than I thought because I am, well, stunned.

I really liked the works he chose for the show. I remember a lot of people were horrified by several of them because he depicted the dead - a mouse, a bird, a rabbit. One with a well-dried mouse juxtaposed with a female model (called "Epitaph," I think - it's on the website under drawings) caused a big ruckus.

His lecture was filled with humor and things from his life. He talked about how therapeutic one particular sculpture had been, because he had covered it with rants about something going on at the college where he taught. He laughed about how great it was because people tried and tried to read it after it was glazed and fired (including some of the ones he ranted about) and couldn't. At another point in the lecture, he talked about using the animals in his drawings when he took a baggie with a well-mummified dead mouse out of his shirt pocket. After he made his point, he held the mouse by the hindquarters and said, "...and besides, Look! You can make it run!" and bounced it through the air.

I also remember, unlike many of the guest artists we had, he also took the time to talk to us and look at the stuff we were doing. Many a time he would say, "Oooh...that's juicy!" when he liked what he was seeing. I guess that's what the biggest impression. He was as truly interested in us and our work as we were of his.


Anonymous said...

He sounds awesome. I'd love to have a teacher brash enough to 'run' a dead mouse in the air.

I like his drawings. The nude is beautiful. The dead birds too, what an eloquent portrayal-if the word eloquent can be used on a non-literary artwork.


Unknown said...

ahh this is so v belated (both ur writng and my finding). but only a testament to dayman's power, eh?

don't know why I'm googling a dead former prof 2 years after I know he's dead--much less 4 since his death.

dayman, if my experience is any testament, fulfilled both of his aims: he was a speaker and a teacher.

man, i always *expected* to learn more. so much saved for another day. time was cheap.

funny how the exhange rate changes.