One of the old factories burnt down in Seymour that backs up to an historic cemetery. Roland and I snuck in to get some pictures. He for his film. Me for a few paintings. I've been sneaking into buildings since my teens. Chris Cobb showed me how to get into an abandoned mill where my grandfather once worked. In the BMXing days we would find abandoned pools to ride in. One of the Winchester Factories in New Haven that is now gone, Roland and I went into as well.
An ear from a painting I've been working on. Hair is still a mess. you can see me struggling to settle on colors. It's great in a painting when the drawing is there and the values get really close to what you see. The illusion kicks up fast and it makes you feel like light is coming from the brush.
This was my attempt to explain brush types to my students.
One of my favorite scenes from Waiting for Godot.
Footage of the making of the painting below.
Here is a time lapse of a new installation titled "crossroads" done for my show at the Windsor Art Center, which opens September 25th. The sculpture was inspired by a painting done a couple of years ago titled "Invisible Cities". In the painting is a signpost with forgotten lands from literature, myths and fables. The installation continues and multiplies this train of thought. The painting, seen below, was loaned for the show, so there should be an interesting dialog between the painting and sculpture.
One of the signs in "crossroads" is labeled "Procopia" which is a chapter in Calvino's Novel about a land that Marco Polo visits each year. He stays in the same room of an inn and stares out the window. The first year, he see no people in the landscape. The following year he sees a few people in the far distance. Each year he returns he sees more and more people through the window until one year, the people are so numerous that they occupy the space in the room on Marco's side of the window. I decided to put that sign as the first sign on the installation, seeing it as a metaphor for the whole piece. What was only imagined through a window (the two dimensional painting) has expanded into the real (three dimensional space).
There will be 10 works of mine in the show, including 2 new unseen paintings and a recent drawing. I have done time lapses of the paintings as well, so look for them to come soon.
Have been in a couple group shows in the last month or so. A photo show and a drawing show. Needless to say I'm dying to paint again. More on this soon.
"Line Dancing" was a show put together by Stephen Kobasa at West Cove Studios. A treasure of personal finds from years of visiting studios as a critic for the Advocate and now Art in New England. My submission for the show was titled "Coward, Servant, Blindman." As is often the case, my titles come as I'm working on the piece and often come from lyrics. In this instance, from Metallica's Disposable Heroes.
I was thinking of the Ram in the piece in relation to the story of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, where at the last moment before he cuts open his son, he is stopped and shown a ram caught in brambles to replace his son as a sacrificial offering. Besides the textual story, my mode of reference and reverence comes from two additional places:
1. the Rembrandt painting of the subject in the Hermitage. They have a great collection of Rembrandts that I was never overly interested in until one of the guards drew open the curtains and the sunlight fell on the Isaac painting. The white fleshiness of the torso and the fact that the face is covered to deny the boy's identity makes you see it distinctly as a sacrificial object. The sun flooding from the window made that body a beacon of light.
2. the Kafka Parable on the subject: He imagines another Abraham. a disgusting old man with a dirty urchin as a son. Willing to perform the sacrifice, but not believing that it is he who has been chosen by God for this deed, He is afraid he'll turn into Don Quixote and the laughing stock of the world along the way. The desire ,paradox, and absurdity of faith is perfectly inherent in this gem from kafka. The doubts and dilemmas of art making are nicely entwined in this for me.
As I was listening to the Metallica song for a nostalgic visit to the music of my high school days, the lyrics "You Coward, You Servant, You Blindman" came up and I started interpreting those words in the context of the drawing. You can easily put any of those labels on Abraham in the textual story, depending on how you interpret it. Blindman- in that he misinterprets God or doesn't see the Ram. Servant- in his dedication to sacrifice his son. Coward- in that he doesn't go through with sacrificing his son. Equally these labels could be applied to the characters in my drawing: the Ram, the people fleeing, or the hanging feet.
There is a review of the show HERE
The photo show, 8 eyes, was curated by Steve DiGiovanni. An interesting premise to the show: take 4 painters and see what they would do with photography. There was a range to the show: photoshop composites, polaroids with battle scars of the studio, still life arrangements seen through the eye of a flatbed scanner, and long exposure night shots.
Read a review of the show HERE.
A Django tune with nice clarinet.
I've been reading A Canticle for Liebowitz, by Walter M. Miller, and happened upon this section.
"For him, there was no neat line separating the natural from the supernatural. There were things that were clearly natural and there were Things that were clearly supernatural, but between these extremes was a region of confusion (his own)- The Preternatural- where things made of mere earth, air, fire, or water, tended to behave disturbingly like Things. This region included whatever he could see but not understand."
Most of life is seeing without understanding (one may argue all). What I like about the quote is that there is still a sense of awe, of belonging, of interest, or connection to things one doesn’t understand. Does something have to be known or defined to be experienced in a profound way?
Years ago, I was walking on the sidewalk and saw a blue shaft of smoke dart out of a manhole. Within a fraction of a second I realized it wasn't smoke but light from the sun, reflected off the window of a passing school bus. From that moment, it was no longer blue but yellow. I try to return to the moment of experiencing whatever it was my eye saw before I named it.
My draw or continual return to perceptual painting has a lot to do with trying to go back to that moment.To face light as an entity. To experience what something really is or really looks like. Rather than trying to create a surprising moment before the recognition from the brain kicks in, the idea is the opposite: to prolong the experience to the point of recognition being exhausted.... one achieves unknowing by traveling beyond the limits of what one knows.
Image is a Lennart Anderson painting.
Just bought a house that was built ten years before the States were United (1766).
On the left is a current picture of the house. On the right is Richard Keasts, a former owner standing in front of the house, taken in 1890. There is a 3 car garage in the back that was at one time a horse stable which we hope to turn into the studio. Because of this, I gave up my studio in the Erector Square factory building. It felt weird getting rid of it. I'd worked and made a mess in there for a good 8 years. It was amazing how quickly I could take my presence out of that studio. (with the exception of a hundred layers of tape and paint on the floor) It really felt weird (did i say that yet?) I look over some of the pictures as evidence of some of the better projects and times spent in that building, and I can feel each of those moments again, but the next person in the space won't know those experiences. I'm too distrustful of my desires to believe they will feel it. (this is probably why I paint) I think there is an emotional vibe to spaces, but i suspect it is more the architecture and light that gives you that sense than passed lives lived there. There are moments when I'm drawing someone's face where I wonder about what in the person's features belong to ancestors and what is unique. Here we are, starting anew in a home that has had plenty of former inhabitants, yet our task to some degree, is to make it our own, to disown what the place meant before. To wipe the slate.
I will eventually be painting in a structure that formerly had horses in it. My only concession to that will be to possibly make a horse painting. Until the studio is built I will be working small. (There is an Eastern Icon book I shelled out 90 bucks for that I've been scouring over for inspiration.) I have a few panels and a sketchbook that will be my artistic activity until I take over the garage. Here are some shots of the Erector Square studio over the years.
R.I.P Erector Square