I found myself thinking about this painting today. This painting was done as a commission. There was converasation with the client, who is also an artist, about how the piece would interact with a large textile piece she was making. We talked texture and color. I was also aware of the piece’s placement, both in the house and the placement of the house (in western Mass). I was considering the title and what was the experience of making the work. More and more, I’m realizing that my goal in these works is to share in an active way, the experience I have of discovery and resolution in the making. I think that is partially why I am so drawn to the three dimensional; it’s unfixed and fragile nature in these works. The viewers experience is more fluid and changing. I was considering this imagery. I knew the work was going to a woodland setting. I was really enjoying the act of turning over the painting to reveal the verso. I see now how the work is an action of digging through the forest floor. Through things living, dead, decayed and transforming. And it’s the action of finding that sought, underneath; the blue, the vein, the water. I considered the title again:”Surfacing”. I knew that I was having a joke with myself about the building of the two surfaces of the paper and the action of revealing the surfaces to each other. I was also speaking to the notion in my work both specific to the pandemic and also specific to my evolution of surfacing as above the water; to breathe, to have a new view, to be freed, if only momentarily. This morning as I thought through the work, I thought about that blue coming up like water surfacing. Like life roiling up through the cast offs and detritus of our forest floors.
I haven’t posted in a while. Seems that I haven’t exactly done some things in a while... that was certainly how things felt a few weeks into the pandemic. Getting started on bigger work seemed like a tiny idea beyond a swirling field of thoughts with no resolution. When I finally was able to get to work it came like an onslaught. It felt as though behind my anxious and spinning conscious, my other mind had it planned. I had a small postcard I’d not been able to complete for Small Art postcard exchange. It sat on the table for weeks and then the razor came out and yes! Here are three large works that came from that coalescence. They each are different and they follow a path of my thinking, feeling and reacting through the works. There is a blurb associated with each. I have submitted them to a couple of art opportunities. Having to sort through and write about them proved really elucidating.
No Outward Signs. 2020. 45”x48”x10”. Acrylic on a single sheet of paper.
In “No Outward Sign,” there is at once a need to control and an inability to do so. The back and front of the painting is in play. Every time a new window is cut and the reverse side comes to the front, there is a new visual problem or challenge. The action of making this piece became a parallel action to my anxieties; sorting through the information and misinformation at the beginning of the pandemic and trying to arrive at a balance of knowledge, action and expression.
Turning Joy. 2020. 48”x54”x10”. Acrylic on a single sheet of paper.
As the second large piece I made in quarantine, “Turning Joy” became a record of coming to terms with enormity of the situation. The action of the painting still is a matter of digging, organizing and understanding things visible and invisible, accurate and inaccurate, anticipated and not. As with the others, the microscopic and macroscopic scale of the imagery plays to the event. During this painting I found myself surprisingly lost in the action of turning over the paper and feeling a certain growing power of clarity.
Covid Conspirator. 2020. 50”x38”x10”. Acrylic and ink on a single sheet of Stonehenge paper.
As the third large piece made during the quarantine, “ Covid Conspirator” became a surrender of sorts to the conditions of the pandemic. The paper was originally a different painting that I repurposed, which felt appropriate to the insular practice of making these particular works at this time. After making “Turning Joy”, I felt a guilt for having my immersion in the work bringing me to a joyful moment. This time, I accepted the pandemic as a partner. The same visual distress of control and un-control plays here, albeit more somberly and densely.
Tomorrow night I will be giving a talk at the Metuchen ARTS Council’s Artist gathering. I’m will share about my experiences showing at the 14C Art Fair.
The weekend went by fast. It was busy. It was intense. So what was it like....
I’m still thinking about that. It ended. We packed up and drove home. And how did I feel? Actually: quite amazing. So my experience was rife with expectations as probably was most people’s. There were people I wanted to meet. Art I wanted to see. Conversations I wanted to have. Sales I wanted to make. And of course, my work I wanted to have seen. I wanted to feel as an artist amongst my peers.
I set out to meet the participants and see the work. Everyone was nervous and clearly everyone had their own set of expectations and fears. I wanted to connect with the artists and the gallerists. I knew it would be three days of small talk and sales talk. I wanted to see if we could just get a piece of something more meaningful to ground us in our community. Turns out it was better than I hoped. I met amazing people and we had amazing conversations. We talked about our concerns and then talked about the work. Really talked about the work. I was having studio visits and everyone needed to dig into their work as a break from the parade of lookers. It was fantastic. I’m hoping that some of these connections will build. I think they will...
So what else? Sales. This was rough. Most of us sold a little. Sales were not the big hit this time. Showing with a new group of people. Yeah this was fabulous! Seeing the different work sing together and the room just flow. Amazing.. There were some people who kicked tires a bit harder and maybe they will circle back for a buy. There were some gallery people who said they were very interested. We will see...
As it stands, a day later, I feel for once, planted in my arts community in New Jersey. This is right now the greatest value of the fair. It feels momentous.
https://reg125.imperisoft.com/ContemporaryArt/Search/Registration.aspx This is going to be a great time. Check the CCA website or contact me for more info!
All the weeks of building and planning really paid off! Install was a breeze. I think I got just what I was after with the piece. I knew it would be different indoors, especially in such a charged and intimate space. Now to sit with the uncomfortableness of having the piece reveal itself. This morning when I looked at this pic and saw the space and dissolving, disintegrating figure next to me, I understand how the shower figure got consumed literally as I thought about the fires raging around the planet. I still love the figure “ burning” in front of the shower head. Thank you to all who helped put this together.