ake Goldsmith and I have a disembodied internet friendship in that I am only able to offer him digital hugs from across the pond. We bonded through a playful engagement with Philosophy, and a shared experience of living in chronically ill bodies. Jake often sends me writing on these things, and I have grown to know him through his earnest attempts to paint his thoughts through essays.
He asked if I could paint Raymond Aron for him, but what interested me was Jake’s thinking about Aron as painting. Could I trace our complex engagement with intellectual precursors? In what ways can we see how one thinker’s ideas and rough outlines become incorporated in a symbolic corporeal sense? Can we symbolize how this hope persists . . . ?
Thus abstractions of two men create one irregular shape. (Within this form is buried a playful allusion to Drakeposting memes: the two bodies conveying the critique and approval therein.) Aron looms large, springing from Jake’s head, yet he also is an uneven outline, evident brushstrokes—emerging from texts—he is ideas that live past the details of the man. Goldsmith’s tracing dissolves as well, temporarily cut off from the constraints of an ailing body: where his face shines more clearly through the remnants of his thinking, where his voice emerges uninterrupted by coughing. I left Jake’s body open to the surrounding white space—to reflect our permeability. To dissolve ideas of inside/outside when it comes to mediality: how we have ideas and how ideas have us.
Publisher's note: The above drawing by Wend Rend, "WWAD ('What Would Aron Do?')", appears in cropped form on the cover of Issue 10, but we reproduce here it in its original form. It accompanies Jake Goldsmith's essay in the same issue on Aron, "A Brief Note on the Use of Aronian Liberalism."
Wend Rend is a disabled artist from Portland, OR. She holds an MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Wend focuses on embodied analog approaches to psychoanalytic art and cognitive rehabilitation. Her ongoing semiotic research project is titled Monstrorum Historia, and can be found on Patreon.