JustArts Spotlight on the Rose
While there’s an infinite number of artistic styles that vary based on the creator, one can generally categorize them into two kinds. One kind seeks beauty in order and formality, while the other glorifies the natural state of the subject, which is often emotional and chaotic. In Howardena Pindell’s “1-6031 with Additions, Corrections, and Coffee,” the two forms of artistic styles are combined into an amazing hybrid that is unique and powerful.
In her work, Pindell drew down numbers from one to six thousand and thirty one in numerical order. However, the numbers were intentionally kept in order, causing the columns to shape forms of waves as they moved from top to bottom. On the other hand, Pindell wrote down the beginning and ending time she spent on this work, giving the number a sense of history as it progressed. To me, the most fascinating part of this piece is the usage of graph paper. By intentionally not following the spacing of the paper, the work presents the contrast between structure and disorder without using words or color just numerical symbols.
The inspirations for this work were the ledge books of Pindell’s father, who was both a teacher and a mathematician. By writing down the numbers, Pindell constructed her personal memorial. The contrast between rationality and disarrangement reflected her relationship with her memory of her father. The coffee stain over the thousands of numbers, as well as the occasional corrections, gave emotion to the lines of numbers.
The more I thought about the numbers, the less organized and separated they became. Each set of numbers is like a second of her life, adding up to minutes, hours and days. Behind each second is a piece of memory, merging into ideas, stories and a life.