Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Source of All Limits

I recently finished this sculpture.  It is clay and wire.  This will be on display at the Trenton City Museum in Cadwalader Park (8/2/08 through 9/14/08).  I'm always moved when I have works in that particular museum, mostly because when I was three and four I played in the park there.  At that time, it was not the beautifully restored museum it is today - but it was still an impressive house surrounded by a park which was designed by the same person who designed Central Park - Frederick Olmsted.  I think about it, it took me about twenty years to go from playing in Cadwalader Park to showing in the museum there.  Now, when I was going to grad school in NYC, I played in Central Park as well - and it's getting to be about the same amount of time so I figure I'm just about due for the museums surrounding Central Park.  Are there 'thoughts' you find 'self-limiting'?  I'm interested to know what happens the moment you realize they are self-created.

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In Lieu of Flowers

I was reading obits recently and I saw the phrase 'in lieu of flowers' and it got me to thinking.  I've seen children's parties as well, where we've been instructed not to bring gifts for the child but rather bring a gift to give away to someone unknown - and I was wondering what it would be like to be a child whose parents instructed friends not to give a gift, grow into an adult who was too busy to be given a gift, and then to pass away and have their loved ones instruct not to give flowers in memory of.  How many times do we miss showing someone they matter?  Is 'giving' to the people closest to you an expression of love?  What is it about abundance that makes us uncomfortable? Can we give flowers and make a donation?  Even in little moments throughout the day - when we can 'give' by making a sweet comment or gesture.  I often wonder how many times we miss telling someone they did something wonderful - because we think someone else will.  I'm interested to know how people handle 'in lieu of'.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Black Gold (Continued)

Continuing the discussion regarding Black Gold, Texas Tea - what I thought about when making that painting was that war isn't so much about the actual raw material - like gold or oil - but the internal fear of loss of control associated with these raw materials.  The raw material, for me, became a human 'emotion' detector of sorts.  If a natural resource makes one think immediately of limitation, then not having it would inspire fear.  And internal fear, would lead to external conflict.  All conflict is at root, internal and can only be resolved through internal examination and reflection.  I went on to make several other paintings along this line - 'Yellow Cake', 'Never Enough' and ' My Father's Kingdom'

I just registered my site at Technorati Profile

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Am I Emerging?

So, this is a continuation of thought on the piece described earlier in 'Sketching and Driving' - which one should never do by the way - Anyway - I love working with fifty-coat - even though it is pretty obnoxious to work with.  It comes in a two part mix, and you mix the A and B components of the resin - then you pour it over whatever you want and it seals it in.  What I love about it in particular is how much it reminds me of my favorite artist Vermeer.  See, he was a master at understanding layers - every layer intentional and translucent and light passed through it, bounced on the layer underneath and came back.  I like using masking tape, and other common items, in creating works of art - and pushing them to their limit.  When Vermeer was alive, he'd go down to the local apothecary (drug store) and get the latest resin and pigment and do something amazing with it.  What do you love about the old masters?  Are there any 'new' masters you love?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sketching & Driving - Continued

So I spent more time thinking about the piece today - I think a lot about my work before doing it.  Sometimes I think that I almost 'think' them into existence.  One of the considerations for this particular work is that it is three panels, 2' x 4' each - and they will be plywood panels probably 5/8" thick and I have to wonder if they will warp, so I imagine making some nice oak strips to 'cradle' the panel with.  I'm always trying to figure out how to make things sturdy without being too heavy.  When I made the first frame for Family Unit Circa 1970, it was made out of oak and weighed a ton because it contained nine separate canvases in one single frame - Yikes!  Then, in the middle of the night, Peter fell out in the middle of the Ellarslie Museum in Trenton, setting off the alarm and bringing in the curator who was none to happy.  But I digress - Do you ever come up really close to a work and try to figure out how it was made? That is one thing I love to do with artwork - maybe one day I'll tell the story of how close I got to 'Portrait of an Old Man in Red' by Rembrandt when I was in the Hermitage museum in what was once Lenningrad. What's the closest you've gotten to a work of art (without touching it of course! :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

One Shouldn't Sketch & Drive

This next piece will be my first 'blog' piece - that is, I am going to attempt to share the process from beginning to end. This process, as a I imagine it at this point, is fairly typical of the way I work, the big question is, will it take a week, or a year, or two years to finish? That, I don't know - No matter how many 'self help' tapes I listen to, I haven't quite mastered the art of regular, methodical 'work' - maybe because it's too much like work? Maybe because I'm scared of the end result? You know, you are always a different person at the end of a work of art, than you were at the beginning - and don't we all, to some degree or another, fear change? But I digress - so, here is a little sketch. On the right side of this image is the front part of the piece of paper, it was on the floor of my car and, as you can see, it is a gas receipt. Napoleon Hill is famous for saying 'start where you stand, and the tools you need will come your way.' And, of course, as usual, he's right - there was a pen jammed in-between the car seats, you know, way down in so you have to keep reaching and just when you think you've got it, the light turns green - and, well, this is important to the story - the idea I had in my head was an image, it came to me at the previous light - and I saw it in its' entirety - three panels, each 2'x4' stacked one on the other - so, it would end up 12' high by 2' wide - a towering column. Each panel is to be done in the same manner as 'Dream Structure I: Version 2' - as a taping embedded in 50 coat. So, it was very important that I found a gas receipt because that looks to me like the correct proportions of the final item - On the left of this image is the back of the gas receipt, the clean white part of the paper that was perfect to begin my 'sketch' - the little squiggle on the bottom is the figure, and the little swirls reaching upward towards the top, is the figure rising, lifting, twisting through the 'dream structure' - the questions that begin to bubble in my head are, can I create the twisting figures in a convincing way, with masking tape - will the transparencies play and how many different color tapes will I use? Can I create a figure within figures and create this dramatic sense of movement upwards - my working title 'Am I Emerging' ?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Black Gold, Texas Tea

This painting was dreamed up in the parking lot of Home Depot. I was listening to the radio about the Iraq war and it struck me, the obvious, yes indeed - it's all about oil. The little song from the Beverly Hillbillies played in my head and grand thoughts of creating a Barnett Newman or better yet, a Malevich. I've always been drawn to Ellsworth Kelly as well - but they were all creating 'abstractions' - and I wanted to make something very simple, very obvious - a direct perception - not a piece of abstraction. But something strange happened in the process. Do you know of strange and simple works that haunt your memories?

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