Saturday, August 27, 2011

full service

These are two paintings from 2007 & 2008 that are relevant to today's theme and a perennial subject of interest for me: Super X Gasoline (16"x20") and Gulf Gas Pump (12"x16").

Rain is beginning to lash against the windows in earnest now. It's been raining most of the day and the deliveries were cancelled, though I did stack yesterday in the pre-storm heat. I'm working on some little collages using the old road maps I found last month. Distributed by the oil and gas companies, they are cheery, helpful affairs, with illustrations of white-clad station attendants and happy families cruising the beautiful sights of America in their big gleaming '40s cars. Ah, "the pleasures of motoring", "the spotlessly clean comfort stations", full service and local tips "given gladly". Not to mention the "open road-- reasonable and cautious" policy of many of those big Western states- sure enough, no speed limits. No wonder everyone's smiling! Though next to that, a gentle warning: "Be careful! The life you save may be your own!" Sound advice.
The maps make the stations look like such welcoming destinations in themselves, they make me a bit wistful. Maybe I can function as a conduit through which these images can be released once again, as I glue them onto wood or canvas, trying to miniaturize that anticipatory excitement of travel or at least the depiction of it! I know they're selling the image in order to sell their product, and it's so very American but it does trigger something in my imagination. My childhood car trips were never of the cross-country variety, but I liked waking up before dawn to pile in the car and head 120 miles east to the beach at Rhode Island. Or, with four siblings, a long drive usually meant a happy visit to one or another of them, at times in NJ, PA, MD, VA, or upstate NY. When I got older I went by train, which had its own romantic aspect.

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