Saturday, March 29, 2014

line items

Couple of the 9"x12" line drawings I did recently. Have about 10, maybe there'll be more. Below them, a small Winter Diner painting finished up. I'll admit this post's title was Jon's idea (which I needed explained) while brainstorming titles for the upcoming group show at Catalyst. These will be in there, along with work by Adam Lister & Tom Moore.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

cabernet of wonder, wine not

I applied to an upcoming show at the Dorsky in New Paltz. Should keep it under my hat because I'll likely not get in, but keeping a record of my attempts is incentivizing.
The idea is neat- and unlike previous themes, I felt I had an angle. Worlds of Wonder, "work that creates connections across time, media, and subject. To what extent do science and nature, architecture, design, and history weave in and out of contemporary art making? How do artists bring together disparate elements into a singular work, or a cluster of related images or objects? Focusing on the lab-like environment of the artist studio and the exploration and curiosity that is at the heart of many artistic practices, this exhibition will create its own space for discovery in unexpected places while highlighting new art from the region, paying homage to the cabinets of wonder that were precursors to museum collections."

So I sent off six images and this short statement below based on notes I've already included in some post, but it points to a consistency that is useful to build on. It forces me to consider my words- and then the work- does it hold. And the second question is, IS it relevant to the show, or is it my skewed perspective that made me think so. But when that's all you've got...!

One theme of my work is the idea of nostalgia as the 'gap between what was and what we wished the world to be'. My subject matter makes connections through time with artists and with viewers who may relate to the objects and places I depict. The act of painting them now, from my current vantage point, provides a new context for looking.
I paint from my photographs of ordinary but evocative objects in a world constantly moving forward, such as a phone booth already vanished by the next time I drive past. Some images are based on road maps, capturing both the excitement and melancholy of travel. Signage, automobiles, even colors mark passages of time. We are startled by their incongruity with our contemporary surroundings, and are drawn to these stilled moments for the same reason.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

bread lines

A bright sign hangs in the gray dawn.
But, soft! what fast through yonder window breaks?
It is the yeast, and beyond it is the bun.
Arise, fair bun, and fill the ravenous room
Within our stomachs, fill it with brioche and challah
Cakes whose tender crumb could sway
Even the abstinent among us.
Fill it with eggs and bacon to topple
Even the steadfast vegan.
The brightness of the sun would shame that sign,
As daylight doth a lamp; my paint a light refrain
Of a morning sun, a pat of pale butter,
A yolk; black squares echo a bistro floor.
Before the mountain, you squint.
A cafe. You go in. The job is done.

(My apologies to Shakespeare) 

Monday, March 17, 2014


Why only write of the moments of mild success and small accomplishments? On Friday I received two rejections: one from the 'Far and Wide' regional show (at the Woodstock Art Assoc & Museum) which has a different juror each year and from which I've been rejected three years running, and one from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the 7-month residency-fellowship that takes 8 out of over 600 applicants, that I had to try for (after seeing the place last June) even though I suspected I wouldn't get in. But there was juuust enough of a shred of optimism, or ego, to get me to apply. It was better to know for certain. As for the juried show, since there is no theme or any clue as to what the juror might seek (aside from reading his/her bio), the act of entering such things feels like a random yet necessary gesture, something I'd like to be part of, if I care about either the venue or the juror, but no way of knowing why I don't fit in or if anyone thinks anything at all of my work. With that in mind, I entered another today.
The following night I visited the Whitney Biennial, so I still don't know, but I have an idea. It has something to do with concept and with execution; in other words, what you'd think it would. And something else more worryingly elusive. I felt sober upon exiting the museum. (Not technically. There was a cash bar, and I thought a drink would help me understand. But it had been a long day.) 
Anyway, I loved the Art Spiegelman show at the Jewish Museum. The next day I attended a baby shower and went to bed at 5. Not to sleep, just to toss and turn and watch the unyielding filmstrip of words and half-formed thoughts and images flip around my mind. Flip flip flicker then that bright light at the end of the reel and then darkness. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

cocoa channel

March trudges along. I drink a lot of cocoa. I practice my ukulele. Songs I am attempting to learn: Folsom Prison Blues; Where Have All The Flowers Gone; Tide Is High; Paint It Black; Yellow Submarine. I say 'attempting' because to say I am actually learning them is optimistic at best. Though I am definitely learning some chords, it's the stringing them together in a timely fashion as to resemble a tune part where I falter. But it is still fun.
I stack firewood. The jobs for me are slowing down but there are still a few and I'm glad. I crunch through dirty snow and ice, hacking away at the layers with a shovel or hurling two frozen-together pieces at the ground to break them apart.
I take walks and swipe at my runny nose. It feels good to expend energy, to feel strong after lying around feebly for over a week, though my mind is still sluggish.
I visit a few different Hudson Valley towns one afternoon, seeing some new galleries and shops, eating too much and taking a couple photos of old diners. I note ideas for things I want to copy or buy or research. I wanted to see something new without going far, and yet I felt too tired to do any actual work. I did not attend art fairs this weekend, it required several different kinds of energy I could not summon. I make a few plans for when I'm feeling more focused. For myself, and for the gallery. In the meantime I read a lot and resumed an abandoned knitting project.
Last week I had to report for possible jury duty, which consisted of sitting in a chilly courtroom for 7 hours one day, reading and dozing. To my groggy relief I did not get picked but somehow this minor ordeal sapped my energy anyway. I think this week I can finally work in my studio for awhile, I have projects I need to do for people and I'd started two paintings a month ago.
Apparently I've left a mug of milk out on the counter for two hours, with a plan for cocoa with honey, but had forgotten it. I did remember to put oil in my car the other day. Someone said, "I never have to add oil between changes!" But I've driven more than twelve thousand miles since August.
It's not too late for the cocoa.