This on-going series started years ago while attending Otis/Parsons Art Institute. While working on large paintings in my other classes, one instructor, Emerson Woelffer, suggested doing something different… At the time I had also become fascinated with assemblage, collage and the physicality or “objectness” possibilities of paintings–in part due to concurrent sculpture classes. After graduation, working at this size just…worked. And the used wood support appealed: it’s neither as invisibly neutral as stretched canvas nor as annoyingly ‘springy’. It also adds more layers of content as it’s already had its own history and the usually rough texture is challenging to work on, adding an element of struggle and textural interest.
The series has become the purest expression of my concept of artist as a processor of personal life experience, but with some evocative mystery and suggestion of story that invite the viewer to make their own personal narrative or emotional connection.
The heart icon is an utter cliché. It’s also pervasive in our culture as a symbol for love. I wanted to spend some time exploring it. But how? It just felt right to represent it as a billboard sign style structure–preferably a bit shabby–set in various landscapes. During the process of the first one, a few other things became signature elements, adding layers of suggestion and meaning. The somewhat illustrational style is the only intended one–the paintings themselves called for elements of flight and passage and strong patterning.
I may return to the series–I have a number of sketches–but this may be the entirety of it. They do work very nicely as a trio.
While I tend to work in series, many times, a piece comes along that just doesn’t fit, hence…solos, or one-offs. Some are quick and small, some more developed.
Created between 1983 and 1987, this small series (six works) was intended merely as a series of experiments in technique and an exploration of one of my primary themes at the time, the human face (I have a number of drawings and paintings on paper as well). And, the love of my life, Kerry Hantman, was a handy subject.
But as their creation stretched out over 4 years, it became much more than that… They wound up speaking of our relationship and our growing fear and pressure as AIDS ravaged his health and ultimately caused his death–at a time when the world barely even had a name for the disease and, diagnosis was considered a death sentence.
A small series of un-stretched doorway-sized canvas paintings, hanging loose from a bar, tapestry-style. Like Journey, the series reflects my interest at the time in challenging the traditional convention of stretched canvas as invisibly neutral, even making the use of the masking tape that secured them to the wall a distinct element. These are meant to be very physical!
With two exceptions, they are expressionist explorations of single male figures in a life-size…interaction. All have deeply personal relevance–even incorporating stream-of consciousness under-writing–and are early examples of my processing of life experience into images.