Welcome . . .
I hope you are holding up through one of the most challenging times our world has ever faced. If it’s not spiking Coronavirus numbers, then parents are hanging on by their fingernails while trying to manage work and family life. And if it’s not suffocating family stress, then it’s systemic racism that continues to plague our cities. Our political systems are grinding away without accomplishing much, and as for our president, forget about it. I’ve never seen our nation at a lower point in my entire life.
And so, why art?
I want to give you a personal answer. For me at least, art is life. Art makes us think and feel, and it almost always opens up a new vista in order to freshen our thinking. Art challenges and comforts us. It brings us back home to a place of familiarity, while simultaneously sending us forth on interesting and challenging journeys.
It can be anything. Music. (I’ve been listening to the new Bob Dylan CD, and I love it.) A film. (I’ve been watching lots of films from the Criterion Channel, including several old films from Japan.) It might be that we need a good novel. (I’m reading old Peter DeVries books, finding myself laughing out loud every other page.) Or art may take the form of an interesting sculpture, like the great orange Calder work on the Indiana University campus. And then of course there are the Netfix and PBS binges!
The particular art form is not as important as making sure we are getting our recommended daily intake of art. Art feeds the soul, and if there was ever a time our souls needed to be fed, it is now. Of course, art includes my paintings. I work in my studio every afternoon. It’s solitary work. I never quite know what will happen or where a creative inkling my take me. But I follow, often blindly, following a path of paint and color, texture and canvas.
I paint for myself. Yes, I do it for me. But not exclusively for me. I think of people I have known through the years, wondering if they might find this work or that work engaging. Certain themes run through my mind, but they are also themes that run through everyone’s life. Loneliness. Despair. Hope. Memory. Beauty. Feeling. Resilence. This is the “stuff” of our humanity, and in one way or another, it finds its way on the canvas.
I’m offering four modest exhibitions . . . if you are interested in purchasing a piece, please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org . . . If you need me to work with you on a price, I am happy to do so. Also, because we are in such challenging times, I will be making a donation to the Studio Museum of Harlem each time I sell a painting.
The first gallery is titled "Time Is a Language." As I worked on these paintings, I found myself thinking about time, how time passes, how time, including the past, is always with us and pressing itself upon us, and how certain times in our lives take on feeling tones and color. Red times of burning anger. Blue times of depression and loss. Time as texture when, in the words of Van Morrison, the “rough God comes riding.”
The second gallery is "Graffito." In the most primitive way of thinking about it, writing is a concentration of marks on a page. Or on a wall. Or cave. Or Interstate underpass. There is an aesthetic look of marks on a page that I find so appealing. I often take photos of graffito when I’m walking around in cities. In my Graffito paintings I’m exploring the relationship of paint and random / not-so-random marks and experiences. I’m especially interested how straight lines are juxtaposed with random graffiti-like marks. I’m only at the beginning stages of this exploration, but I’m thinking more and more that all of lives can be measured by the accumulated graffiti of our living.
The third gallery is "The Divine Feminine." Over the past several years I have been obsessed with these female faces. Really one feminine face in a variety of iterations. The face is primitive. Folklorish. Raw. It’s become clear to me that what I’ve really been exploring is the feminine face of divine mystery. Not a woman but WOMAN qua WOMAN. Regardless of how one eventually defines “God,” what is important is to tap into the rich feminine / psychological energy that pulses through the universe.
The final gallery is titled "Remembering Provence." Provence, that southern-most region of France, is magical. I’ve been there many times. But now (in my old age) I understand that Provence also exists as a place within my psyche. It’s color and texture. Memory of long afternoons in the sun, lazy outdoor lunches, and laughter with friends. It’s the way sun hits an ancient wall or how water glistens off in the distance upon the surface of the Mediterranean Sea. These simplified paintings offer a visual invitation to anyone – To all of us quarantined! – to use our imagination and allow art to take us to new places of beauty.
I hope you enjoy the paintings. (Pass along my website to others.) I’m always glad to hear from you. I wish each and every one of you deep peace during this difficult time, a time when we’re all redesigning what it means to live artfully with our lives.