My current work both abandons and embraces premises
of the two previous series shown in the last six years - (There
Was Once A World and Sympathetic Criminals) - which took for inspiration
a perplexed puppet named Lorelei. The puppet, her family, and
her compadres in industrial dioramas formed a traditional still
life set up. In much of this work, the process of painting was reactionary,
old fashioned, reviving the old masters techniques. Observation
and a constrained set of steps an underpainting, thin glazes
- were key.
Initially, in the current work, my usual small scale
wooden panels became even smaller to deal with larger, lofty themes
like mortality, creating an irony, and ambivalent spatial relationships
But, consciously, I wanted to find a womans
narrative story as a basis, and I settled on the 1911 Manhattan
Triangle Factory Fire (where 146 immigrant women died.) I bought
a very old bellows, drawn by the way it operated, feeding the fire
with air. The bellows rounded petal and angular shapes (similar
in some ways to misshapen Lorelei) were what I loved. But, rather
than doing a painting of the object, my impulse was to pull the
actual bellows apart. But, it couldnt be put be put back together
again. The individual shapes united and reunited forming a sort
of hybrid form that felt both familiar and mysterious, balanced
and imbalanced. More bellows followed.
Instead of technical constraints serving as a guide
and only using oil paint on panel, multiple techniques and materials
accrued to these hybrid sculptures: Odd bedfellows -cast concrete
and homespun fabric, wood and wool, bound physically to each other
and reacted together unexpectedly. They formed a kind of old world
symbiosis where the materials hold memory.
As my painting was no longer based on observation,
they varied in size and each one could be described as a fragment
or a footnote to something once there and then gone, with one foot
in our reality and the other in the other world. Oddly, in some
sense one could imagine the painting spawning the hybrid sculptures;
or the objects escaping their trap spilling into actual space ---
Some of the paintings and objects coupled off creating a third meaning,
sometimes they changed partners.
Finally, this body of work strives to be inclusive
on many levels, in subject, process, materials, and in person.