Down to Zero

Kate Beck Digital Snow Cover January 2009
Does it remind you of Stengel at The Whitney?

I've been procrastinating for several weeks now. The election is over, world peace is a fallacy, we're not selling, they're not buying. I've been taking long, really cold walks with my dog just to numb it all. Then I picked up a book of selected writings of Ad Reinhardt, which took me back -- to my own Black Paintings, and to myself. This poem, by W. H. Auden, was sited.

Kate Beck Canyon.Black 46x46 inches Oil, Wax, Mica on Linen 2007

The More Loving One

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell;
But, on earth, indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all the stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look to an empty sky
And feel its total darkness sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

Kate Beck Untitled 12x12 inches Oil, Wax, Mica on Linen 2008

Indifference, indeed.
I guess it's the best I can do right now.


S.A. said...


What a gorgeous black painting -- Canyon -- I love the warm and cool blacks!

In eastern PA, we haven't seen the sun in weeks -- just cold, white and grays. A sort of northern European melancholy sets in until April. I seem to make more red paintings in December through March (whatever that means).

Fiona said...

Hi Kate
Looked at this last night and clicked on the studio links and images - lovely - but too tired, too late to comment. These works look great, I really like the Untitled 2008, and its really good to see the images from the Contemporary Works on Paper Show. I love Auden too! Hibernating is good when its cold!
f x

Kate Beck said...

Thanks for commenting -- I agree, hibernating is good! I'm pleased you like the painting, Steven.

Diane McGregor said...

Kate, I love this poem. The last stanza made me cry and think of my husband, the astronomer. Thank you for sharing this.

tony said...

Having sen a comment of yours on Joan Mattera's blogsite I followed the lead to here and was very pleased with what I saw & read - thankyou. In return may I pass on a few lines which, although you may already know them, seem to touch upon your work and your approach to it.

Form is not
different from space.
Space is not
different from form.
Form is precisely
Space is precisely

Praja Paramita-Hridaya Sutra

My understanding of these lines is not
clear but sometimes I seem to brush up
close to their meaning & they have been
useful in keeping me on the straight &
narrow in my work. I hope you like

Best wishes, Tony H.