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Posts Tagged ‘Red Tree’

Stopped in at the West End Gallery yesterday to see how the work from my new show, Moments of Color, looked on the walls.

I was pleased.

You can only get a small sense of how the work for a show will hang together when it’s still in the studio. The paintings are scattered all over, some in different rooms and some obstructing others. Almost none of them are in frames. I never get to see them fully presented, hanging clearly in direct relationship to one another.

So it’s always interesting to see how the show comes together on the walls, to see if a unifying theme emanates, and to see what pieces jump forward. In this case, the color mentioned in the show’s title is made abundantly clear. It is a show filled with color.

I’ve written here before about coming to painting because I wasn’t seeing the paintings I wanted to see, wasn’t experiencing the colors I wanted to feel. This  show comes close to meeting that desire for color, especially the fully saturated deep tones. They show themselves well on the gallery walls and actually serve as the unifying theme for the show. Even in the Multitudes pieces that feature masses of faces, it is the color of those pieces that binds them to the other works in this show.

One of the pieces, along with so many others, that seemed to jump off the wall for me was the piece shown above, La Belle Vie. That translates from French as the good life or the beautiful life. Either works for me. With its clarity of line and color in its skies, hills and flowerbeds along with its size, 36″ high by 18″ wide, it is a piece that has a real presence on the wall for my eyes.

As an artist, sensing that presence in a piece is an extremely gratifying feeling. It’s a feeling of completeness, as though I have done as much as I am capable of in this piece at this point in time. And that makes it a statement of who and what I am as an artist– and a person– at this point. I guess that kind of sums up my feelings on this painting.

Jesse and Lin have done a tremendous job hanging this show. Hope you can make the opening reception at the West End Gallery this coming Friday. It begins at 5 and runs until 7:30 PM. If not, hope you can stop in and take a look.

For this Sunday morning music, I have chosen a song called Beautiful Tango sung by Hindi Zahara, a Morocco born singer that is based in Paris. Love the feel and pace of this song. It seems to jibe well with La Belle Vie above. I could see the Red Tree dancing a tango here. Give a listen and have a good day.

 

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I want to live alone in the desert
I want to be like Georgia O’Keeffe
I want to live on the Upper East Side
And never go down in the street

Splendid Isolation
I don’t need no one
Splendid Isolation

–Warren Zevon, Splendid Isolation

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Over the next several days I will be showing paintings from my upcoming show, Moments and Color, that opens Friday, July 12, at the West End Gallery. Today is a piece called Pondering Solitude, a 24″ by 24″ canvas, that was a favorite of mine during its time here in the studio.

Like much of my work, I can’t exactly put my finger on any one thing in this painting that makes it hit the mark for me. Maybe it’s something as simple as the color combinations or the way the light flows within the composition. Or just the simplicity of it as a whole. Or the feeling of warm solitude it emotes.

Again, I don’t know. That probably sounds strange to some of you. After all, I painted it so shouldn’t I know the entire what and why of a piece I have created? You would think so, wouldn’t you?

Oddly enough, in my best work–or at least what I feel is my best work– I have no answers. And that makes sense to me because the work is for me a way to get enough clarity to understand enough to be able to ask questions. Then, hopefully, answers emerge.

It’s hard to find answers when you don’t really know the questions.

And that is kind of the story of this piece. I see it as the Red Tree feeling a need for clarity and light, answers to questions that it can’t articulate, and finding solace in the light and warmth of its solitude.

There is more likely than not more to say here but I think I am leaving it at that for now.

I used some lyrics from the song Splendid Isolation from the late Warren Zevon above. Here is the song.

 

 

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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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Got a lot to get done this morning but thought I’d pass along a reminder that my 20th annual exhibit at the Principle Gallery is still hanging in the Alexandria, VA gallery. It’s a show that from which I took a lot of pleasure and if you’re in the area, please stop in to take a look.

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Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Leonard Cohen, Dance Me to the End of Love

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The painting above, 8″ by 16″ on canvas, is a smaller piece headed to my upcoming solo show at the West End Gallery. The intertwined trees in this piece refer back to my Baucis and Philemon paintings which are are symbolic representations of the Greek myth of the poor elderly couple who show the god Zeus unlimited kindness when he shows up in their village dressed as a beggar. He spares their lives alone when he destroys the village and rewards them with an eternity bound together as two trees on a hill.

This piece definitely reminds me of the tale. Maybe it’s the deep and dark threat that is posed from the clouds. Perhaps these clouds represent the wrath of Zeus while the clearing sky on the horizon represents eternity.

I don’t know for sure.

But it is a striking piece, one that is very simple to take in yet has the depth I want for it.

I am calling it Dance Me to the End of Love after the song chosen for this Sunday morning music. It is from Leonard Cohen from 1984. Interestingly, the song has Greek roots, its composition following that of a Greek folk dance performed through the centuries by members of the butcher’s guilds. It is often referred to as the Hasapiko, translating to the Butcher’s Dance.

So, give a listen. Have a good day, okay?

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Moments and Color, my annual solo exhibit at the West End Gallery in Corning, NY, opens on Friday, July 12 with an opening reception running from 5-7:30 PM. It is, as always, open to the public.

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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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