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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Last Pieces of 2018

I've always struggled with titling abstract work because I don't want the title to reference anything specific, anything that could lead the viewer to see something in the piece. I want the viewer to create their own journey, to ask questions and to leave their mind to continue thinking about the work. I've noticed other artists struggle with the same issue. Some artist simply refuse to title the work, others number their art. I've tried various things, including randomly picking words out of the dictionary, using unrelated song titles, or various other techniques I've abandoned. With this group I decided that abstract words would be an appropriate compliment to the work -- that is, I created my own words that people can assign any meaning they want to them.

These first two pieces are similar to a sculptural painting I made a couple of years ago, Stage Fright
Gasulimini
acrylic, graphite, and shellac on board
30" x 36.5"
2018

Gasulimini (closeup)
Tinnatious
acrylic, graphite, and shellac on board
16" x 34.5"
2018
Tinnatious (closeup) 
Queshiol
acrylic, gesso, and shellac on board
12" x 16"
2018
Rinipali was influenced by the work of Odili Donald Odita whose paintings I've been seeing and admiring.
Rinipali
acrylic, graphite, and shellac on board
12" x 32"
2018

Rinipali (closeup)
Most all of my work is experimental but these last two pieces were particularly so. I was just playing around with the underpainting of both, experimenting with small abstract amorphous designs. I was never completely happy with them but I took the time to flattened and polish them with shellac anyway. After a few months of looking at them I painted some zigzags freehand on top. 
Loitium
acrylic, gesso, and shellac on board
12" x 13.5"
2018 
Tutalio
acrylic, gesso, and shellac on board
12" x 13.5"
2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

More Zigzags and Pentagons

Here are the indoor wall paintings I completed between February to December 2018. This first piece, Binding Light III, is part of a conceptual series of paintings that I have been making related to my curiosity about the nature of reality evolving out of my Buddhist practices. The random angled geometric shapes that have been a long time part of my art have always represented individuals to me. What I am particularly interested in is how individuals are "inseparably interconnected" to one another. The illusion of reality verses what is really going on. Consequently, although the painting is abstract on one level, my intent is not abstract at all.
Binding Light III
24" x 40.5"
mixed media on board
2018
My zigzag work is less conceptual and more about playing with color, experimenting with their interaction, and trying to generate some kind of visual energy. As with much of my work, I am more interested in selecting color combinations that create visual questions more than to have something that is aesthetically pleasing. The title of this one, Orange and Philinga, is a reference to a tombstone I came across while wondering around an old graveyard in Morrisville, Vermont for Orange and Philinga Cleaveland. Orange died in 1889 at 88 and Philinga died in 1870 at 66. I know nothing about them other than what is on the tombstone but with such names I assume they must have been wonderful people.
Orange and Philinga
31" x 25"
mixed media on board
2018
Here is the tombstone the painting is named after.

The underpainting for Orange and Philinga and Breathless was made specifically to be painted on top of, whereas the underpainting for Redemption was made on top of an old piece.

Breathless
36" x 18.5"
mixed media on board
2018
Of all the zigzag paintings in this batch, Redemption (below) is the only one in which I painted over an older piece. With the others I created the underpainting with the intent of painting zigzags on top. I first started working on this piece in 2010, and brought it out again in 2017 before finishing it this year.
Redemption
18.5" x 24"
mixed media on board
2010-2018
Intuitive Induction
28.5" x 31.5" x 1.5"
mixed media on board
2018
Kale Summer
20" x 18"
mixed media on board
2018
Would That (below) is available through Cross MacKenzie Gallery in Washington, DC.
Would That
46" x 35"
mixed media on board
2018

That Which
29" x 48"
mixed media on board
2018
When I made Innocent Insolence I was interested in the wedge shapes created by the zigs and the zags so I decided to paint each of them individually. When I was done I realized I still needed something to hold it together, and to give the shapes context, so I painted the zigzags on top after removing the tape. This painting, as well as Orange and Philinga, is available through Helen Day Arts Center until December 29, 2018.
Innocent Insolence
46" x 41.5"
mixed media on board
2018
Here is a closeup of the piece. 
Innocent Insolence (close-up)
Future Perfect started as a practice board, a place to experiment with ideas before working on an actual piece. But has the ideas were layered on top of one another I eventually felt that it was interesting in its own right, so I decided to finish it. I found the result interesting and it served as inspiration for the piece that followed, Present Perfect.
Future Perfect
23.5" x 31"
mixed media on board
2016-2018
Present Perfect is a combination of the piece above, Future Perfect, and the first piece on this post, Binding Light III. Although, with this iteration, I'm thinking maybe that binding light touches all around the beings rather than just at the points between them. I don't know.
Present Perfect
23.5" x 30"
spray paint, acrylic paint, and shellac on board
2018
With this last piece of 2018, Jatonisti, I felt that it needed another layer of something when I was done and, more out of frustration than anything else, I decided to doodle on top of it.

Jatonisti
23.5" x 25"
spray paint, acrylic paint, and shellac on board
2018

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Greatest

The Greatest is a public art painting/sculpture installed at King Farm in Woodstock, Vermont for the 2018 LandARTLab exhibit which opens on August 25, 4 pm to 7 pm. The exhibit is free and open to the public; and will continue through November. The title is, in part, a reference to Mohammed Ali who conceived of the poem, Me We, when asked for one by a student following a speech at Harvard University in 1975. Although it is the shortest poem in the English language, it is also enormously profound.

The piece is also inspired by the teachings of Lama Surya Das who has mentioned the poem in both his talks and books. 

LandARTLab is an extension of Sculpturefest where I have installed Home Dream Home, described in the previous post. The two properties are joined by a path and, together, cover hundreds of acres -- making it one of the largest public art exhibits in the region.

The Greatest
exterior latex paint on wood
96" x 93" x 5"
2018

The Greatest (second view)

The Greatest (third view)




Thursday, June 28, 2018

Home Dream Home

I constructed Home Dream Home for display at Sculpture Fest, an annual public art exhibit in Woodstock, Vermont. This year's show includes thirty-five regional artist and over forty sculptures. It is a very beautiful setting and a must see if one is in the area. Amazingly and very generously, the organizers (and owners of the property -- Charlet and Peter Davenport), make the site free and open to the public from sunrise to sunset.
Home Dream Home
exterior latex, plywood, wood, metal
86" x 54" x 98"
2018
I was honored to be invited to create a piece and even more so when I was named, along with my friend Mary Admasian, to be a featured artist. The exhibit opens with a reception Saturday, June 30, 2018 from 4:00 to 7:00, and continues until November 18.
Home Dream Home (second view)
My sculpture was inspired by my desire to see homes painted in interesting and fun ways with the hope that the work would encourage others to go beyond boring traditional painting schemes. I am also fascinated/obsessed with the idea of installing a multi-colored standing seam roof so I painted this one with that in mind. 
Home Dream Home (third view)
I used thirty-six different colors, most of which I mixed on my own. I consider it a trial run for my own building. I've already painted it with eighty-eight vertical stripes, all different colors, but it is on vinyl siding and I eventually need to remove it and fix the underlying clapboard.
188 Elm Street
2016
The vinyl siding is well beyond its useful life so one of the advantages of the paint job is that it distracts from how bad it looks. Ideally, one day I can paint it somewhat like Home Dream Home.
188 Elm Street (second view)
I titled the piece Home Dream Home because a house is just a building but a home, to me, invokes a feeling of love and play. I want the piece to be interactive. I hope that people go inside and have their pictures taken with it while looking out the windows and doors.
Home Dream Home (fourth view)
I also included washable colored chalk inside so that people can add their own inspirations. I feel that the sculpture isn't complete without the interaction of others, that the art isn't art until people go inside and interact with it. In that way, it is a living structure that is constantly changing, as a home should.
Home Dream Home (inside)

Friday, February 16, 2018

New Work

Here is my latest batch of work going back to last June. All photographs were taken by RL Photo Studio of Burlington, Vermont.

This first piece, Binding Light (1), evolved over time to become something much more spiritual than I originally intended. I find that I am continually drawn to geometric shapes with random angles and sides. I like how they are all different and I like adding to that difference by painting them differently. As I paint them I am always thinking how their uniqueness is a metaphor for the uniqueness of all beings, the infinite variety of life. Consequently, I see this work more as portraiture than abstract art.

As I was working on this piece, I started to see how, if I painted the last, outermost pentagon the same color as the section in the corner it could infer that the same color (or light would exist around every other shape continuing beyond the unseen corners out to infinity. In this way, I feel it is a depiction of the nature of reality, the insepartablity of all beings that exist everywhere.
Binding Light (1)
mixed media on board 
48" x 41.5"
2018
Binding Light (2) is a conceptual continuation of (1), intending to show what it looks like to have multiple "beings" within the painting. I had changed the last pentagon to white after I realized that it made more sense since white light is the source of all other colors; additionally, both The Tibetan Book of the Dead (The Great Liberation Through Hearing) and people who have died and come back to life talk about going toward a white light.
Binding Light (2)
mixed media on board 
48" x 41.5"
2018
Carlota was originally started, and "finished," in 2013. Over the summer I pulled it back out to work on it again, this time adding the zigzag pattern on top.
Carlota
mixed media on board 
41.5" x 41"
2013/2017
Here is what Carlota looked liked before I reworked it.
December 2013
mixed media on board
2013
The same with Conundrum with Blue, it was the second zigzag piece. I decide to make larger zigzags this time. Not sure which is better.
Conundrum with Blue
mixed media on board 
42.5" x 46"
2013/2017
And this is what Conundrum with Blue looked liked earlier.

Untitled
mixed media on board
2013
Homage is, obviously, an homage to the many other artists that have inspired me while still adding my own style. I am not sure why but I find it really important to use a different color for each ring. I believe the aesthetics would be better if it had a pattern but I feel the changes make it more mysterious, adding questions to the viewers mind.
Homage
mixed media on board 
48" x 41.5"
2017
There must be a source light but I have no idea what it looks like or what the radiants look like either. This is an attempt at depicting it.
Source Light
mixed media on board 
48" x 41.5"
2017 
These next three are inspired by my bumper stickers ideas.
Grayless
mixed media on board 
11" x 36"
2017  
Inductance
mixed media on board 
11" x 36"
2017
Surprise Party
mixed media on board 
13.5" x 24.5"
2017
Physicianification was first "completed" in 2013, but stayed in storage for four years.
Physicianification
mixed media on board 
17" x 36" x1.5
2013/2017
2013


These last three were inspired by work I'd seen in NYC just before making them, though, if you see where my idea started you would not believe they where related. It worked more as a mental jumping off point. It was nice to find a good use for small scraps I had laying around the shop for years but couldn't bring myself to giving away for firewood.
Stack (1)
 acrylic and gouache on wood
7" x 10" x 2"
2017

Stack (2)
 acrylic and gouache on wood
8.5" x 27" x 2.5"
2017

Stack (3)
 acrylic and gouache on wood
23" x 12" x 2"
2017