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Ethelyn Honig is a diarist. She has eschewed words but is as much a diarist as Virginia Woolf and Anais Nin. Like them she records her immediate and daily experiences; the visible and material world is her ‘subject matter’. Unlike Nin, Honig is not narcissist; indeed her sensibility is closer to Virginia Woolf because her imagery avoids false sentiment or totemic symbols. She is intelligent.

There seems to be no end of objects and materials which are not closely scrutinized. It is their ‘thereness’ which tantalizes, causes contemplation; not their design or beauty. For instance a coat hanger, a radiator, a box of table utensils; Honig does not ask their meaning. She would never suggest with Arp that ‘stones are full of air’, or with Duchamp that his oval bottle is ‘full of the air of Paris’. They remain unlocated, uninterrupted, they are not, even in their banality, ‘ objects trouvé ‘. That the sentient world is full of many things, myriad, unseeable by the naked eye, does not disturb Honig. She takes them in one by one, and puts them into


her inexhaustible journal. Honig is an artist, not a maker of documents or photographs. She keeps her distance from the junk, refuse, castoffs, flotsam, which catch her attention. They become the ‘trops’ of her extended metaphor of how she experiences the circumstances through which she lives day by day.

Honig escapes the melancholy of the perishable because she doesn’t for a moment, believe the objects conspire. They are there and then they are not there. This is an egg, that is a window frame and this is a cracked mirror.

Are the haystacks really there we ask of Monet’s haystacks? Or were they there a minute ago? Honig wishes, along with Cezanne to put an apple on a plate forever. No impressions. Objects are mysterious enough. Along with words Honig has shunned magic-realism, and visual rhetoric and that is why her paintings, drawings, collages and constructions are so agreeable to look at. She shares.


*John Bernard Myers

*Art dealer and writer who presented and published the work of many well-known New York artists and poets. He was the director of Tibor de Nagy Gallery from 1951 until 1970. He mounted the first solo shows of such New York painters as Larry Rivers, Grace Hartigan, Helen Frankenthaler, Red Grooms, Alfred Leslie and Fairfield Porter. His main published writings are; ''Tracking the Marvelous” 1984, “Forward and Backward: A Chronicle", circa 1976, “Knowing What I Like. “ 1985. He died in 1987.

** Honig's drawings are included in Myer's publication “Parenthese”, volume 2 numbers 3 & 4 in 1979.

*** Myers and Honig met in the late 1970's where they both had houses upstate New York. Myers was retired as director of the Tibor di Nagy, New York City but had monthly salons for artists in his home in Brewster, New York. Honig introduced Myers to some of her artist friends. He curated some of their shows in a local church. The first exhibit was Honig’s own Diaries in Boxes.

Copyright © 2010 Ethelyn Honig