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“Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt”

― Immanuel KantCritique of Pure Reason

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The painting shown at the top is titled Sublime. It is a new 24″ by 48″ canvas that is included in my show, Moments and Color, that opens a week from today on Friday, July 12, at the West End Gallery.

I struggled finding a title for this piece for a long time. There was a quality in it that attracted me immensely, that spoke volumes to me. But try as I might, I could never quite put my finger on what exact quality that might be. I just knew that if felt like something bigger than any single emotion. It had, for me, an immensity of feeling.

So, the word sublime came up in my search for a title and it immediately felt right. The feeling I was sensing and trying to describe was sublime, at least in my understanding of the word which put it at a point beyond beauty. Maybe beauty plus several other layers of feeling.

Every word that came to mind seemed limited to one emotional ray but sublime was a wide spectrum of feeling.

It was already titled when I came across the words at the top from the philosopher Immanuel Kant. His idea of the sublime being limitless and beyond our attempts at imagining it described perfectly my own frustration in the struggle to find words for the wide range of feeling I was sensing in this piece.

It seemed a bit like serendipity that the painting’s title was already Sublime. I still feel frustrated in describing my response to this piece but that word, sublime, covers the bases for me.

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Moments and Color is the title for my annual show at the West End Gallery, located on historic Market Street in Corning, NY. The exhibit opens Friday, July 12, with a reception that is open to all and runs 5-7:30 PM. The show is currently in the gallery and available for previews.

 

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Well, the work for my upcoming show, Moments and Color, is out of the studio and at the West End Gallery. The show will be completely hung sometime today well in advance of next Friday’s July 12 opening.

It always feels a little weird the first morning back in the studio after delivering a large group of work for a solo show. While it’s a relief to have the work gone and the task met, it is a bittersweet sensation. The paintings that have surrounded me, that have called out at me, that have occupied my mind for months are suddenly gone. It feels hollow here even though the place is far from empty and the work that is gone seems to have left behind an echoing presence.

Some pieces definitely leave behind reverberating waves. Like the one above, a 16″ by 20″ painting from the Multitudes series that I call Soul Boat. It’s a piece that I miss now when I scan around the studio. There are faces in it that I had gotten used to locating and focusing on, like the one here on the right that reminds me of Henry Miller. Maybe he’s sailing out on the Tropic of Cancer or Capricorn.

Don’t know but I kind of miss having him staring out at me.

If you want to have this Henry Miller stare at you for a bit, Soul Boat is now at the West End Gallery for next week’s opening on Friday, July 12. Please stop in and get a sneak peek at the show.

Anyway, here’s an oldie from Grand Funk Railroad that might kind of line up with this piece– if you squint your eyes and try real hard. It’s I’m Your Captain/Closer to Home.

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I am moving right along with my prep work for my new solo show at the West End Gallery, Moments and Color, that opens in a little less than two weeks from now. I deliver the show early this week, before the July 4th holiday on Thursday, so this weekend has been a busy one as the work goes into their frames and mat and glass are cut.

I think I’ve probably described this final prep time preceding a show before. Even though I can easily imagine how a painting will appear, actually seeing the work fully presented in their frames brings a fuller dimension to each piece. It also gives me a better idea of how the show will coalesce and hang together on the gallery wall.

Hopefully, it’s a very satisfying feeling. And with this group of work, it definitely is, leaving me eager to see it on the wall.

Anyway, got lots to do still and I am a little frantic. Thought this Sunday morning’s musical selection should reflect that. It’s a neat version of the Ramones punk classic I Wanna Be Sedated from Tim Timebomb, whose music I featured here just a week or so back, along with Lindi Ortega. It’s kind of an unexpected take on the song and one that I find highly entertaining. There are two versions below, the first being the full version and the second containing just the instrumental track, which I liked enough to include here.

The image at the top is a new small piece, The Soloist, that I just finished for this show. Moments and Color opens Friday, July 12, with an opening reception from 5-7:30 PM, at the West End Gallery in Corning.


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“A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness.”

― Jean Genet

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I came across this quote and it made me stop. When he said that dreaming is nursed in darkness, was Genet saying that we must sleep more in order to be able to dream more? That didn’t sound right to me.

More likely he saying that we must stumble through much darkness, not sure of where we are or where we are headed, in order to achieve our dreams. Maybe it is this time spent maneuvering in darkness that gives us the courage to act on our dreams.

That makes more sense. Following that dream for a long time, never seeing it fully in the darkness, makes that elusive dream more precious and gives one a sense of urgency in achieving it. When the possibility of the dream coming to fruition is finally upon them they are not afraid to take action. They can then act with grandeur, as Genet put it.

That sounds better but what do I know? It’s 6 AM, I am tired to the point I can feel the dark rings under my eyes, and I am thinking about Jean Genet and dreams. Even the tiniest act of grandeur doesn’t seem too probable at this point.

But I think I understand this struggle to follow our dreams, to become what we truly want to be. It’s easy to lose sight of our dreams when we are stumbling in the inky darkness. Once they move away from us, they often are lost forever.

That’s sort of what I am sensing in the new piece above that is included in my upcoming West End Gallery show. It’s a smaller painting, 6″ by 10″ on paper, that I am calling Dream in Sight. It’s one of the pieces from this show that are a nod back to my earlier work. Perhaps the moon represents the dream here, rising and falling through the darkness. Sometimes it doesn’t show at all. Other times, it only shows a smaller part of itself.

And it always seems so distant yet so near.

Hmm, I have to think on this. Or take a nap and dream a bit more.

Have a great day.

 

 

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And if they had the words I could tell to you
To help you on your way down the road
I couldn’t quote you no dickens, shelley or keats
‘Cause it’s all been said before
Make the best out of the bad, just laugh it off
You didn’t have to come here anyway, so remember
Every picture tells a story don’t it?
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I wrote yesterday that I was extra busy getting ready for my upcoming West End Gallery show, that opens in three weeks, on July 12. Well, nothing has changed so I am just going to share a song that has been running through my head since yesterday morning. It’s Every Picture Tells a Story from the 1971 Rod Stewart album of the same name. I am not the biggest Rod Stewart fan but at that point in time he was really dealing and this song is an absolute gem.

I included a new smaller piece from the show. This song made me think about this painting. There is definitely a narrative in it. What story does it tell? I am thinking of a title of One and Many Lives for it. I see the Red Tree in the central panel as moving from one house to the other, a symbolic transition. We may have one life but we are often many people within it.

There’s a story in there somewhere.

Got work to do. Have yourself a good and great day.

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I am buried in work right now as I prepare for my upcoming annual solo show at the West End Gallery in Corning.  This year’s show is titled Moments and Color and opens on Friday, July 12, with an opening reception that runs from 5-7:30 PM. I will be providing more details on the show and the work in it over the coming weeks.

There will also be a Gallery Talk taking place on Saturday, August 17 beginning at 1 PM. There will be, of course, plenty of details on this talk beforehand as it is generally a pretty popular and entertaining event. If you’ve come to one, you know what I mean.

The piece at the top is one of the larger paintings in the show, coming in at 30″ by 40″. It was going to be titled In the Gardens of Splendor but I have settled now on Moments and Color: Big Placid. [ Note: Actually, there was a bit of confusion and this painting is titled Moments and Color: Big Placid (In the Garden of Splendors) which is a mouthful. But then again, it’s a big painting]

So, mark your calendars and pardon me– I’ve got lots of work to get done!

 

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And the sages of the subway sit just like the living dead
As the tracks clack out the rhythm, their eyes fixed straight ahead
They ride the line of balance and hold on by just a thread
But it’s too hot in these tunnels, you can get hit up by the heat
You get up to get out at your next stop, but they push you back in your seat
Your heart starts beatin’ faster as you struggle to your feet
Then you’re outta that hole and back up on the street…

–Bruce Springsteen, It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City

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The other day, I was working on another of the Multitudes pieces, a 12″ square canvas that was featuring a halo or at least a gold orb hanging over one of the faces. The painting started with this central haloed character and the rest of the faces grew out from it. The faces other than the one with the halo were originally going to be many shades of blues and purples but while I was working, a song from Bruce Springsteen‘s first album in 1973, Greetings From Asbury Park NJ, came on.

I could lie here (as I have been known to do on occasion) and say that it was It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City. That would make for a nice tidy little tale.

But it was actually Spirit in the Night. At first I thought that maybe I should use that title for this piece. It would work pretty well, especially with the dark blues and purples. But  instead I instantly saw in my head the title from another song from that album, It’s Hard to Be a Saint. It fit even better. The painting already had a saintly halo, for god’s sake. So I decided to go back at the surrounding faces and give them a green, jaundiced tone. Give them a uniformly alien appearance that would contrast against the lightness of the haloed one.

It works for me, at least. You may or may not like it and, again, that’s okay.

Anyway, here’s the song that gives this painting its title. It’s early Springsteen so its densely worded in its lyrics, the thing that really attracted me to his work at first. Many of the songs from his first albums felt more like short stories or novellas than songs. As his work evolved, his best work moved from this sense of literature with intimate, wordy description to one that felt more cinematic, with broader, sweeping vistas. I like both styles but this early work still appeals deeply to something in me.

Give a listen and have a good Sunday. And a good Father’s Day.

 

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