Pages

Friday, December 21, 2018

Summon

"Notes" installation


A light breeze ripples through the leaves on the maple outside my window. The air is unusually cool and mercifully quiet. No lawn service, motorcycles or car stereos. The kids down the street aren’t home from school yet leaving the driveway basketball court silent. A male cardinal affectionately feeds his mate. Fat bumble bees wander from bloom to bloom. A sparrow flies headlong into a picture window, breaks its neck and falls dead to the ground. My father’s decay is connected to me in an awareness it’s time for him to leave and I’m going to continue living without him. Rummaging through my hall closet looking for a jacket, I found the MICHIGAN one I bought specifically to go to the football games. The carefully sewn letters in true maize on navy blue resurrect the sensation of sitting in that stadium with my Gramps. I speak out loud, “it’s about you now too, Dad.”



We all arrive, spend some time here, then make room for the new arrivals. When life is being an asshole, which is frequently, we often engage in vain attempts to stop this cycle, to control the uncontrollable. It’s the sweet spots and the hope to generate more that make our life sentence bearable.



Today, there is a global collective migration toward tolerance, compassion and non-violence. The transformation occurs from the inside out. What does the individual transformation look like? Obviously, it’s much easier to witness the external evidence. It represents the internal but doesn’t tell the whole story. I recently visited Rome and its ruin sites. Grand remnants of ages past stand in testimony to power, wealth and innovation. Marble and painted references to the sublime and the godly. In the Forum, where the Senators met to share events of the day, what did they say to each other? What did they argue about? What deals were made? How did the populous respond to their decisions and actions? Did they agree with their representatives? Were they angry? Were they apathetic? How do you quantify the mind and its memories? Its decisions to aspire to its greater self? Where is the soul?



In the video, each participant was asked to record something he said to a lover to get out of a relationship. Each person registers the excavation of past encounters on their face. The viewer relates to the clips by remembering their own experiences. Summoning the mental recordings of our lives. Clips we cherish, and clips we’d prefer to erase. These memories wash over our face. We recognize others’ expressions in ourselves. Left behind is the external residue in a hand-written note, demonstrating the artifact’s inadequacy at communicating the complexity of that moment. Undocumented is the thought process leading to this juncture and all its emotional attachments.



The paintings are abstractions of my recordings. Visual expressions of thoughts about life, death and what comes after death. “The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns puzzles the will.” -Hamlet. It’s the best I can do to provide an external illustration of what my mind has been through in the past few years. The endless haunting stories that never go away. The quest to come to peace with my inescapable history. I am fully aware these displays are, like all other attempts to answer the unanswerable, minimal and incomplete. They are, however, true. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Dad


I sat at his library table in the den, palms resting on the smooth wood. The note “Sondheim” is stuck to the edge of one shelf. He is reminding himself to download that music. Above the desk is an installation of small works of art gathered on global adventures seeking the world’s greatest art and architecture. The pieces are carefully framed and hung together like the jigsaw puzzles he and Mom always have going. To the right are the old photos of his father’s Michigan football teams. 60 years of season tickets. To the left is the book shelf, crammed with evidence of his insatiable thirst for knowledge. The Civil War, Buddhism and Caravaggio are punctuated by the metal toy soldiers of Napoleon and his generals. Behind me is one of my favorite series of his own works. It’s hidden behind the door in reluctance to include himself in the great company of makers he surrounded himself with. These pieces are well executed and powerful. They contain his personal mark I’d recognize anywhere. Brilliant and gregarious. Also intensely private. Of all the places he’s visited, his favorite is home. Home is his sacred place of freedom where he can pursue his own quiet thoughts and spend time with his family. Home is where peace and sanctuary always reside. I’m profoundly grateful to have known one of the most dynamic and humble human beings to grace this planet. He has sculpted and crafted me to be more that I perceive myself to be. He lives on in my heart forever.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Morning Fog






It's been a bud for over a year now. I'm not even sure what color it is. Or its fragrance. If any. But it sits there, promising, mocking. Threatening to wither before witness. Forcing me back into the morning fog. A chill I'm used to. So accustomed I never put the blanket away. In case. And it's always the case. Safe and warm but hollow. Again.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

my song



Relentless tainted whispers
I heard and absorbed
because you held the authority.
Mishandled with blackened fingertips.
I don't agree. I never did.
Bare skinned and shredded knees
reveal a truth,
but, sadly, only to me.
I rewrite the notes and sing a new song.
My song, carrying full sails,
salt spray in my face and loft in my dreams.



Cow Graveyard

Monday, April 10, 2017

Of Dinesen




Life has made a nasty face at me. The dank atmosphere quietly corrosive. I used to meet boys with all of my soul in my eyes. I used to meet all of it that way. The optimism of a now withered youth. If I had some indication of even a change in direction, I could better endure. I would welcome any diversion from my own thoughts; a reprieve to pour some kind of spirit back into me. The sun has the audacity to pierce the comforting gloom. I want to draw the shades against it. I only feel right in darkness.

His loneliness matches mine. It’s a mournful dance. Both of us are creatures of charm and playfulness as well as dark blue tears. He’s looking for solace from lost success as am I, but I have also lost my trust in the future. There is no shortage of helpful advice on cures. The mortal bacterium is in my blood. Only god can make alterations. I'm waiting. Waiting with him takes the sting out of it.

The black tulip is light in my hand. I hardly notice it. There will be an unremembered moment when I've put it down. But for now, I am enthralled in its beauty, helpless in its unhappiness.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

consort

storm brewing


shall I be lawless and rude?
yield to the greedy gnawing
bringing sweet warm wine to lips long parched
orange peels and cinnamon, damp wood and moss
I'm consorting with nature's princes
how long will I be fooled?

 I court deception to please my soul
aware of the loss that hasn't flown yet
coaxing unaccustomed honey out of comfortable bitterness
will the taste linger long enough to justify the forfeit
I hear his pulse inviting me to swim
in the cool green blue



*post script: I bought a new laptop and while moving files over, I found a couple things I'd written for another blog I've since deleted. The intensity of the compositions surprised me. I have three entries. I'll start with this one. It's the lightest of the three.

**photo was taken at the cottage as a storm was building in the northwest. No filter.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Afterlife

Afterlife I and II
20x20 each
mixed on canvas

After the Fall, season and Wall Street, of '08, Hollywood delayed my collapse until 2012. I staged a brief period of success repositioning Reel Art Detroit and enjoyed several large commissions for abstract paintings. That was 2014. And the End. It became clear last Spring I was not going to return to pre-2008 income levels. Saddled with an uncomfortable debt load, partly due to launching RAD only to have the industry removed a mere 8 months later, I decided to stop deluding myself and call it. By early December, it was over. The business was closed and the debt removed.  

The Universe gave me the opportunity to tear the veil off another fantasy. A boy who truly loves me, was once my lover, but never will be again. I'd been hanging on to that one for a while, too. It turns out 2016 was the Great Housecleaning. Reality can be rather harsh. Although everything that was stripped away was negative, it still created a profound sense of loss. I'm leveling off enough now to notice the vacancy. The Universe abhors a vacuum, so I'm waiting to see what fills in.

While I wait, I did some actual housecleaning and stumbled across all the evidence of my "other" career. For a fabulous 17 year run, I worked with Interior Designers. Faux treatments, murals, hand-painted embellishments. Whatever they needed. I made a pile of money. I bought a house, went to Europe a couple times, started an IRA. It's over. Gone. There isn't much call for faux these days and when there is, housepainters learned how to do it and siphoned off my business. I'm teaching, writing, some front end tech work. I've been making and selling a few paintings. These 2 pieces aren't the greatest, but they are cathartic. Using archival materials from jobs long gone, collaged then obliterated, I'm putting the final nail in that coffin.

Feels very strange to experience so much blank space. What to do with it? I'm resisting my compulsion to push myself, mostly motivated by financial fear. The Universe is providing enough. I have the chance to breathe for a moment. February's bizarrely warm weather allowed for a hike in the woods yesterday. Went with some good people. Ate a spectacular meal after. I'm supremely grateful I have the capacity to change and adapt. Can't go back. It's why the windshield is so much bigger than the rear view mirror. It's an open road. Roll down the windows and crank the stereo. It's a gorgeous day.



*both paintings are currently at Galerie Camille. I'm clearing the decks so these are ready to move.