Monday, April 13, 2015

The Closet

Eleanor Ott gave me a fabulous cabinet, and I very quickly knew what I wanted to do with it. The Closet. I appropriated the button garment of the man in this piece and hung it inside the cabinet, surrounded by cabinet cards of young men. It is very beautiful.


I've finished two of the boards I'm painting over, and have found myself embarked on a lot of text-painting. The original images on the boards are gently showing through, which I like. The images were incomplete or too thin before, but they are more engaging now in a layer underneath.

In the first piece (seen at the front of the pile in the previous post) I created a grid and a few random words in the painted square sections. Then I pulled out some older painted tin disks that were appropriate and created some new ones with other random words, using the same colors from the square sections.  I sanded down to the gesso in a small area under the disks, and mounted them with gel medium on pillars of various heights from the surface of the painting. When there's more direct light, the disks will cast shadows on the surface of the painting beneath them.

I installed it in the frame from its previous incarnation, and hung it next to an old 3D piece called The Technology of Rebirth (to which I had recently added arms, legs, and a new head). I've been thinking for awhile about pairing paintings with 3D work, so maybe this is a beginning of that.

Next up, WAY more text. This was a meditation on time and the passage of time in large timescales. It begins with my own early experience, which seems to become the early experience of humans on the planet.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Clean Studio

Quick, see it before it reverts to chaos! The studio is clean, and I am embarked on painting over the old boards you see below. They are pieces I don't want to save, and they've got frames and good surfaces, so I've unframed them and have begun on the first board in the pile. If it turns into anything I feel good about, I'll post it somewhere down the line... I don't know if I still have any painting chops. We'll see.

I decided to hang representative pieces from each of my major painting series on the walls -- here you see some from the Nests and Eggs series (above) and the Red Dress series (below).

And I put all the remaining Circular Statements pieces on the back wall and one from the Imprimatura series on the left wall (it's hiding behind a painting that's going to the next SPA show, Gone Fishing.

It's very liberating to cull work and part with materials I've been keeping "on spec". Wood was burned (I still need to get rid of the long pieces that you see in front of the window at the back of the studio, but I have to wait until the snow melts at my house so I can put them on the burn pile), and metal taken to recycling.

5x5 Finished

So I finished this piece, and it's framed. The final state has two 29x29" pieces, one with text and one without. I discarded the text a few posts down, as too wordy and banal. Instead, I decided I need to find (anonymous) text, as I had found (anonymous) photographs. So I went to places where I had bought the photographs, and to other places (libraries) with bookshelves, and randomly selected a shelf of books. I started with the first book on the left of my chosen shelf, opened it up randomly, and wrote down fragments of text that I found interesting (no more than a sentence or two). I put it back, then took down the second book and did the same... through the fifth book.

I did this at five different locations, and then took the text and put fragments that seemed to work in the photographs, from top to bottom, each shelf of books corresponding to a row of photographs, 1-5.

Here is how the whole thing (with text) looks, and a few details so you can read the text and see how interesting the correspondences are!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Revisiting Genesis

I've been cleaning out my studio recently, and shifting things around, especially on the walls.

I've had a 1999 triptych based on the creation story in Genesis that's been on the back wall of the studio for many years, and I think it's time to take it down and try to find a new home for it.  Of note about this piece: there are two different stories in Genesis about the creation of humans -- one in which Adam and Eve are created at the same time, and one in which Adam is created first and Eve then created from one of Adam's ribs. I used the first version, and also scrupulously used non-gendered language about God.

Here are some detail shots of the piece

These are large pieces, about 4 1/2 feet high. The medium is oil on MDF board, and the text is incised into oil and wax sections that separate the pictorial elements.

I would be very happy for this piece to go to a progressive religious congregation, or another organization that has an interest in the cultural history this text represents.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I couldn't help commenting about the photographs in the 5x5 grid several posts down. I used a typewriter font to help coordinate the text with the period photographs. I am not sure how successful it is, and would love to have comments. This is all new for me, an excursion into new realms of photography, text, and a different kind of appropriation and artmaking.

I felt the images needed a voice -- not the voice of the photographed, or even of the photographer, but of the viewer (myself), who gathered these objects. I bought each of them at junk (or secondhand) stores in Vermont and New Orleans. They are intimate images, and I am accustomed to seeing such photographs in an album of my own family -- people I have known and loved. I know where they were taken, what was going on, who was about to get married or divorced, who has since died.

Though the settings (outside on the front porch or in the yard, on vacation, standing by the car...) and cultural settings are familiar, the dramatis personae are complete strangers. Still, there was something about each image that made me plunk down my 50 cents (the price of most of them). Not knowing what's going on (not that we ever can, really, know what's in someone else's head...) is like an itch you can't scratch. I have written what goes through my head as I handle and arrange these images.

Monday, March 2, 2015

1001 Nights

OK, I'm pretty happy with this piece: