Dec 10, 2008

"Landmark: Fertile Ground"

This is a new one, built around the painting "Scott Fertilizer Plant". I went back to this site, about a year after I started the painting, and found many good objects (or they found me, if you look at it that way), especially in the buildings off to the right. There are more diagonals in this composition than in the previous one. I have also collected more interesting information on this plant, which was a mixing plant for Scott brand Potting Soil. There are, like so many locations, strange connections here. The property is currently held by W.R. Grace & Co, founded by William Russell Grace, first Catholic Mayor of New York City. The heir of the founder, J. Peter Grace has some links and membership in extremely conservative groups like the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and the Council for National Policy, dedicated to the creation of a Christian theocracy in government in the United States (and elsewhere). This company is also the one depicted in the film "A Civil Action" and has been involved in some massive contamination and environmental lawsuits.

Here is the final composition. It is organized as a triptych, with the left panel suggesting more enlivened organic and agricultural themes, the middle containing the perspective image of the plant, and the right panel suggesting the passage of time and decay, dominant with wood, metal and past images of the location.

Nov 20, 2008

Final version and a new title: "Landmark: Gospel Essentials"

This is a final version of the work I outlined below (compare the two), now titled "Landmark: Gospel Essentials". I am now working on another combined found object assemblage and realist oil painting using the work "Scott Fertilizer Building" and fragments
I collected at that painting site nearly a year ago. The concept of "landmark" occurred to me as appropriate to what will be a new series. The term landmark originated with the need to symbolically represent on maps recognizable, commonly found features in the landscape. Landmarks aid our orientation, creating a visual vocabulary of familiar locations.

Mapping our world, marking our world... the human interaction with the natural environment. "Landmark" seemed to me to be a good overall term for representing how I approach these locations that are at once both recognizable and undiscovered mysteries in my immediate ecology.

The subtitle "Gospel Essentials" is actually the title of the cassette tape in the lower right corner of the work. The print on the plastic case is barely visible... just a ghostly little bit of text. It was, like most all the elements in the painting, something I picked up in the vacant lot represented in the painting. I think this element, and the Dollar General store plastic bag represent something of the population closest to this site. The aerial image in the upper left shows the site, including the cell phone tower. I have marked red lines showing the angle of view of the painted picture.

My critique group liked this piece. Appreciated were the representation of multiple surfaces and perspectives, the way I carried certain line elements outside the painting into the assemblage construction. The names of Kurt Schwitters and Joseph Cornell came up. Their approach to assemblage and use of paint comes closest to this work, but I think the inclusion of a highly representational (plein air even) work as one of the elements is rather unique.

Technical note update: Adhesives...
I mentioned earlier that I used the Liquid Nails Heavy Duty construction adhesive for the wood and masonry objects. On Judy Hiramoto's suggestion, I tried the craft adhesive E6000, which is crystal clear and very tacky. It worked great on the glass (over on the upper right inside edge between the painting and the wood) and for several of the metal objects. Some elements are nailed in place with either galvanized finishing nails, or copper plated brads; I'm a stickler for the "archival". The painting itself is attached to the backing board with screws from behind.

Oct 5, 2008

Doing the Art Fair thing.

A year since I opened this blog about my art, repeating the attendance at the Abbeville Art Fair in Abbeville, SC. Another beautiful weather weekend, although it did threaten to sprinkle a bit early on in the morning, by mid day it had turned sunny and warmer, but not hot. Taking time out in the afternoon to walk around to several storefronts around the town square and sample different wines was very pleasant. It is a very enjoyable way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

I was pretty lucky to sell several prints and two originals; the "Trinity Street" watercolor and a charcoal drawing I had made of my grandfather, dating back to 1983 or so. I had assembled some wire mesh walls to hang the artwork on this time, vastly improving my ability to display the original and framed prints. My next goal is to build or purchase the print bins and print several versions of the Abbeville series of images. To that end, I have recently purchased a (used, but hopefully in very good condition, as promosied by seller on eBay) an Epson R1800 pigment inkjet printer, which will print 13 x 19 or longer prints with 8 colors of pigmented archival inks.

Aug 23, 2008

Now.. how to do it...

The new piece below, which I have titled "Past Tense, Future Imperfect" is a preliminary arrangement. I gathered the objects and the painting and laid them out in the way I wanted. I now want to construct them and apply the materials in a permanent way. This poses some interesting challenges as there are many different types of material; brick, plastics (some hard, some soft like the bag), metal (rusty, clean, and heavy), wood, paper, glass. Just about everything really.

I have researched various adhesives for the brick and wood and have settled on Liquid Nails Heavy Duty construction adhesive. To make matters more difficult, I want to adhere all this on a plywood panel backing, and be able to gesso and add color to certain "open" areas. This has led me to explore and learn about various collage and assembly art techniques. Very happy to do that and I am liking this piece more and more as it develops. I have designs (and found materials) to do a similar thing with the painting "Scott Fertilizer Plant"... first things first though.

Aug 20, 2008

Fall 2007 and Summer 2008 work

The original oil painting has been added to this found object assemblage. I started to gather objects at the painting site, adding to the collection with satellite images from the internet of the location with my marks drawn on them, indicating direction and angle of view for the painting.

This new arrangement suggests to me something of an urban archeology of abandoned, liminal spaces... border territory between the past, present and future. Often these spaces are marked by borders between human activity and demographics. This location is on a busy street where lower income families live to the west (left of the image) and commercial development is taking place along this route to the north and east. I have titled this new work "Tense Past, Future Imperfect".

"Scott Fertilizer Plant"

11/17/07 - 03/15/08 4:30-5:45 PM

This image of a recent plein-air painting is facing north, looking down what is now known as the "Swamp Rabbit Trail", a recovered rail line being converted into a recreational pedestrian pathway following the "rails to trails" program. The industrial building was a Scott brand fertilizer manufacturing and distribution plant, abandoned since the late 1990s.

Aug 5, 2008

The CONNECTION art show and historical exhibit

I was juried into this regional traveling exhibit, connecting the history of South Carolina and the Caribbean island nation of Barbados.

The Connection Art/History show and exhibit. Organized by the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor organization.

International Plein-Air Painters Featured Artist

I am currently the featured artist for August, 2008 at the International Plein-Air Painters website and at their blog. Please check it out (through 08/08).

Coming soon... information about shows and exhibits in late summer and fall '08 and the possible "Liberia" project...


Mar 9, 2008

"...6, 7, 8, 9..."

"...6, 7, 8, 9..."

A group show with the above title opened in downtown Greenville, SC this past week. I belong to an advanced critique group, run through the education section of the Greenville County Art Museum and facilitated by Michael Brodeur of Furman University. There are 8 of us in the group, hence the name, exhibiting a variety of new and past works on at a new gallery, organzied through a cooperative venture between Furman University and the local branch of the YMCA. The gallery is located at 612 S. Main St. downtown Greenville.