Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Vessel Series: Translucence and Opacity

How to satisfy the desire for the shine of glass without the glass? The objects I have been making this fall illustrate my efforts to satisfy this need. I have been experimenting with adding an underlayer of resin to my vessels. Sometimes I add pigment, mica flakes or pearls to the pour.

Some of the images in this recent series were found at the bottom of a dusty pile on a leafy street in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. I must have worn my artistic fervor on my sleeve as I set to the task of looking through endless baskets of cabinet cards. All of a sudden a chair was procured for me by a formidable ruddy fellow as I searched for my special image, the one that set me to dreaming. Of course it was at the bottom of the stack. With eyes defiant she glared at me in sepia.

I am also incorporating some small found objects in my recent pieces. An artist friend gives me strange bags of rusty items from time to time. What were these things in life? My most ambitious use of one of these findings is in my piece "Reliquary 1", shown below. If you look closely in some of the niches you might need a good glass of vin rouge.

An empty can becomes a portal, a vessel, a world, an inheritance.
Handle the materials until they become something else,
something beyond image and tin.
Make one piece. Make another one.
Work it until you have burnished the thing inside yourself
that makes the best of you surface
and then disappear as the work tells the story.
Let the thing burn clean.
Give it the freedom to be a little different every time.
Build a new lineage and let the thrill of it run through you.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rough Angels

Vessel: Rough Angel 2 (2010)
4 1/2" x 2 3/4" x 1 1/8"

Vessel: L'Enfant Terrible (2010)
4 1/2" x 2 3/4" x 1 1/4"

Vessel: Columbia St. 2 (2010)
4 1/2" x 2 3/4" x 1 1/8"

Reliquary 1 (2010)
4 1/2" x 2 3/4" 1"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

From Behind the Glass

"Portal: Beyond the Fire" (2009) 7 1/4" x 5 1/4" x 1/2"

When I first started to make art, I worked in shadow boxes. All my assemblages were behind glass. The world inside the box held a certain sense of tension and that feeling of containment was satisfying for me. However, handling the glass made me uneasy.
"Portal: The Departure" (2009) 7 1/4" x 5 1/4" x 1/2"

I decided to experiment with other kinds of surfaces and depart from standard framing. The Portal pieces are made with bookmaking cardboard painted with grey gesso. After making the assemblages I placed them on light wood frames treated with water-based wood stain and polycrylic finish.
It was a thrill to have the work so immediate.

"Prairie Tales 4" (2009) 7 1/4" x 5 1/4" x 1/2"

Many of the images in this series reflect my recent summers spent in the mountains of Colorado.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Vessel Series: Mutton Street & Pydhonie

I have a second city, Mumbai. It is a sprawling, attenuated metropolis consisting of lots of little villages strung together. In the lower part of the sprawl lies the Chor Bazaar. I found myself in the middle of Mutton Street with a dusty basket on my lap. Out in the street gents were trying to sell tourists greasy car parts. Tethered goats were blinking in the sun. Several teas later I found my faces.

Pydhonie is a nearby neighborhood where I have spent many a morning enjoying the ancient crumbling building fronts and pleasant cacaphony of the metalworkers.

Close your eyes and you might hear the hammers.

Vessel: Pydhonie 1 2010 2 1/2" x 5 1/2 " x 1"
Vessel: Pydhonie 2 2010 2 1/2" x 5 1/2" x 1"
Vessel: Mutton Street 1 2010 2 1/2" x 5 1/2" x 1"
Vessel: Mutton Street 2 2010 2 1/2" x 5 1/2" x 1"

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Vessel Series: Romita

People often ask where I get the photographic images that I use in my work. Normally I am reticent to share that information because I don't think the photos are the focus of the work. The photos are the icons that guide the work. The work is the response to the images. However, some of the images I am working with in the "Vessel" series have been procured after much searching, so I will share a little. The Romita image was found on a moody day of penetrating rain in Mexico City. I had heard of a junk shop in the Roma neighborhood and I sought it out. After struggling to find the words in my faulty spanish I was able to convey that I was looking for cabinet cards. There she was at the bottom of a moldy stack of cardboard: my Romita. It was my birthday present to myself.

But the children's songs she sings to me as I do the work I will not share. Even if I did, I have already told you that my spanish is faulty.

Vessel: Romita 1 (3 1/2" x 8" x 1 1/2") 2010
Vessel: Romita 2 (2 1/2" x 6" x 1") 2010
Vessel: Romita 3 (2 1/2 x 5 1/2" x 1")
Vessel: Romita 4 (2 1/2" x 5" x 1")