Friday, September 22, 2006

End of packet two. I am drawing the shells. The subtle shift of light siennas to purples seduces me to a sentimental place and I am prescious with the labor I have claimed, and I lash out against the beauty and look for something else... I use unforgiving blacks and then cover everything with white and reclaim the siennas.. Wrestling with rendering and deciding to allow arbitrary perspective, then regrouping in a feint of composition... habit.. ego. What is a good drawing? I started my drawing class by asking that question. And now I have more questions, What makes a drawing good? Does that question have any meaning? Does the answer have any value? My studio practice is driven, in part, by the assumption that the inquiry and or product will have value, that it will demonstate the course outcomes for the degree that will somehow help me sustain a job that I question every day. Do my drawings have to be good? How is the inquiry measured? I am in the shell game, the metaphor I have chosen for seeking a degree. It is a metaphor of power, persuasion, seduction, belief... my relationship to the process changes. I am in suspense, disbelief, I have found new areas of anxiety, new levels of confusion. Drain my blood, do the MRI's... tell me what you find. I need to know something that I can point to and say this is this. This is a knowable thing. One of my students from last year came in to empty his locker. I was so glad to see him. HE is a lovely gentleman. I think I love him in some way that eludes my knowing, and when he didn't return this fall, I asked about him. And here. Here he is, showing me some drawing books of Shiele .. Klimpt... As we talked I saw the taped broviac catheter in his right shoulder and the bulge in his abdomen. He was just up from surgery for esophageal cancer. He hadn't set up his radiation yet, and wanted to clean out his locker. An accountant who, after retiring wanted to learn to draw, to paint and had been working hard at it ever since. A gentle man with a love for new experience, dancing, and now here he is, tying up the loose ends. He does not want to inconvenience any one with his new journey. I ask him to come and paint in my class. He tells me he has dropped the courses he signed up for. Zero sum game. Some thing accountants live, I guess. I want to write everything I know, remember, feel for this man... Is it way of re-entering, preserving the gentle gift he gave me every day in class? it is in the end a selfish act for me... to create a way to remember ? His options are limited. Inoperable. Radiation, chemotherapy, pain, drugs... I want to sit and hold his hand. I have a terrible thing of experiencing loss as soon as I hear .. my grieving begins at the edge of asking, Where is John?... He came to say good bye. I do not accept that. But I may have to enter it anyway.

clam shells 22" x 30" conte

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

24"x 30" graphite

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I have been thinking about my dad a lot and how simply he lived his life. He was always bringing things back from the beach,"Say look at this rock, it looks just like a whale jaw, but see, it is made of stone!" In this way, I was introduced to fossilized seal bones, teeth... eardrums of whales... One time he found a huge shark vertabrae disc on the beach near our summer home at Dares Beach, Md. "Yeah dad," I said, "That is from the Miocene epoch 10-25 million years old..." He replied, "Yep, I bet it is at least five hundred years old, see how it is worn? Well, I 'll be darned. That's really something."

Monday, September 04, 2006

shells covered with collaged photos of shells

Gather a sea-shell from the strown beach And listen at its lips: they sigh The same desire and mystery, The echo of the whole sea's speech. Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828-1882: The Sea Limits

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I began a short film about painting the shells. I am learning to use a new camera. Idea: restating the shells by using photos of real shells collaged on to another form of shell and then photographed one more time... in a pile. I have found a references to shells in the memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton: "...diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.."

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My work focuses on series, many studies of the same subject. Using watercolor, I view and paint many paintings of the same thing in order to distill my visual perception and reduce the subject to light and brush stroke. I want to capture something that I learn to see and paint through repetition over a period of time. The images evoke relationship of variation and simulation, changing only slightly from piece to piece.
As I worked on this series, I looked for ways of expressing the nature of shell ‘ness’ that represented the physical and psychological nature of my inquiry. Representational studies became contour drawing, modeled forms in paint became brush stroke, pages became shell like layers. I continued to rethink the physical nature of externalizing my idea of shell in alternate physical realities. Trans-formation. Shell to paper, paper to book, book to sculpture, sculpture to installation, installation to replication of collecting sea shells, etc.
Shell Game is a study of shells collected over the past 30 years. It is a time based installation piece, using several forms, including the original pile of shells, traditional drawing and watercolor studies and book forms. I used a journal style of binding to represent the act of recording daily painting, folded and bound to produce a particular visual sequence. The pages are painted on both sides. The viewer selects what to see and not see. This act brings the viewer closer to the act of collecting, simulating my physical and visual journey.
I am influenced by the writings of Baudrillard, Derrida and Heidegger. My work is included in many public and private collections in the US and abroad as well as museums in Washington DC, Boston and NY. I am currently seeking a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Art at Goddard College in Vermont.

Friday, September 01, 2006

water color tone study 33" x 54"