I’ve been messing around with collage/pinhole photo outtakes for the upcoming show (using a bit of acid-free “archival” glue).
The show at Backstory Books finished up earlier this month and I managed to get 7 paintings off my hands and received the first checks for art in a very, very long time. When you price your smaller pieces low – it tends to sell (who knew!). This gives me a little more room to grow and keep working without expecting to always burrow things away forever.
Influences of the month:
Pierre Bonnard – Painting Arcadia : I borrowed a book on Bonnard from work, which is a beautiful catalog from a retrospective show at SF’s Legion of Honor a few years back. Bonnard has always had a special place in my little consortium of favorites. It started about 12 years ago when my color theory teacher, Donna Larsen, assigned him to me for a project (I vaguely recall having to replicate a sample of his painting along with color swatches). At the time, I knew nothing about Bonnard’s work and had initially written him off as boring. But of course his work won me over – his color use and brush work made his paintings have a glow, and it’s a glow I’ve been subconsciously trying to replicate in my own work during the past few years.
The Eva Hesse documentary : I finally watched the film on Eva Hesse that was released last year – once it was over I immediately played it again while I was painting. Hesse died very young from a brain tumor, but she found so much success and recognition as an artist within a short span of time. The part of her timeline that stuck out to me the most was when she returned to Deutschland for the first time since she and her sister escaped the Nazis through Kindertransports as a toddler (her extended family was murdered). Although her parents managed to escape, her mother later committed suicide when Hesse was only nine. Hesse reluctantly returned with her then-husband Tom Doyle after he was offered an all-paid artist’s residency at a former textile factory on the Ruhr River near Essen. Although the residency was offered to Doyle, the 14 months spent between 1964 and 1965 at the abandoned factory served as a launching point for Hesse. She began to transition from painting flat to incorporating sculptural elements into her surfaces like wire and metal scraps she found lying around the old factory space. She returned to NYC after finding her voice, and her work only expanded from there (latex/fiberglass sculptures and works on paper). Over the next five years she produced enough work to fill the entire Guggenheim during her memorial exhibition shortly after her passing.
My superior at work offered me an opportunity to exhibit some of my paintings and pinhole photographs at the Concordia University’s George R. White Library and Learning Center during the months of July and August. More details to come when summer begins.
The Mnemonic Whale will be installed for my show at Backstory Books in early March, which means this weekend I have kept myself indoors and been busy working on it’s next manifestation. For now, I’ve decided to stick with one card catalog drawer (hand-cut without an electric saw) while the remaining space of the side box will be temporarily covered with small paintings. Two of the little paintings include a scene of Oregon’s 1970 exploding whale and one of my earliest sensory memories climbing on a fake one. The drawer will house catalog cards pertaining to each of Backstory’s books that will be for sale behind each subject door. While making room for the drawer in the flurry of sawdust on my kitchen table, a piece of wood/particleboard I ripped out of the catalog box looked like the state of Oregon (or a file icon) – I’ll take that as some kind of sign.
The front and left side of the Mnemonic Whale is completed. For the left end, I added/modified a few tiny paintings I did years ago to the top + silicone, wood glue, gold and red ink. On the front, I sanded down the edges of the doors so they closed completely and I outlined the whale carving in gold ink. Now all it needs is the top layer, right end card catalog drawers, and proper innards (more about that soon).