Saturday, July 26, 2014

Drowning Kittens 2014

Destroy list
I'm in the process of re-organizing my studio, which is a euphemism for spending a lot of time avoiding going through years of things that have piled up.  Every corner of every room of my studio has a stack of something that needs to be decided on(as a result, I've done several lovely little paintings while "experimenting" with materials that I didn't know what to do with).  One of the first real things that I did that wasn't pure avoidance was to open up a drawer that had 27 paintings inside--my "To Destroy" drawer.

It was heartbreaking.  Some of the pieces had technical issues and others were not fully resolved.  But mostly there were a number that were just too big, too complicated, and too difficult to deal with in terms of content.   They were multiple panel pieces which were based on grids of large gelatin silver prints that I had then over painted with oil paint.  They were difficult to print as photos because they were so large, hard to set up to paint and then really hard to paint because of their complexity and size.  They were hard to photograph and frame, and very difficult to show people because of the multiple panels.   Most were done in the early 90's. 
Bird with Hand 75" x 52"   
Some of them are quite beautiful.  As I stood and looked at these images I was in awe of the young woman who, 20 years ago, put her entire heart and soul into tackling these big, difficult paintings to create something that she had never seen before. Those were the days when I would stay up until 2:00 in the morning, trying to finish the piece, and would then continue to paint as I slept so that I would wake up exhausted that next day, still trying to resolve the problems I had encountered the night before.  I pulled a few out of the destroy pile that I just couldn't bear to see go under, and then slowly and carefully tore the rest up.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Woman with Shining Light 1986

The under-photograph that this image is painted on is of a friend of mine named Karen Mountain. At the time the photo was taken, we were hiking in Utah, and had gone into some beautiful cliff dwelling  spaces.   The photo was of Karen walking through the soft, mounded dirt in the cave, blurry because of the long exposure.  As I worked, I couldn't make her figure work within the painting, but, gradually this figure started to emerge, completely obliterating Karen.  I was just finishing up when the phone rang. It was Karen, calling me from Texas.  She was crying, and having a hard time explaining to me what had happened.  Finally I came to understand that her boyfriend, Sam Baker, had been blown up while sitting in a train waiting to go to Machu Pichu.  The terrorist, a woman and a member of the Path of the Shining Light had placed a bomb in the overhead rack and it had gone off, severely injuring Sam and killing people all around him.

Recently, a friend, (on his way down to Mexico) and I were talking about the dangers of travel in Latin America and I mentioned this incident.  A few days later he sent me the following link:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fallen Angel 2014

A fallen angel is a wicked or rebellious angel that has been cast out of Heaven.  Wikipedia

The first fallen angel is thought to be who we now know as the Devil,  AKA Lucifer("Day Star" or "Son of the Morning").  It seems originally that he was a super angel; handsome, charming, personable and able to sit at the right hand of God, taking care of everything, just a really great personal assistant.  But, as time went on, and he found himself taking care of all of God's details,  he began to think that he was  just as good as the boss--just as capable and certainly just as smart.  Of course, he wasn't, and rather then just a reprimand, God tossed him out of heaven, to end up, in of all places, here on earth.

My fallen angel has just been kicked out of Heaven. The world is just forming, and the environment is hot and steamy, and quite harsh--clearly not the place he was just booted out of. He is fearful, anxious at what has happened, but not quite sure he understands where he went wrong.  The large, white angel, clean and fresh, is having to explain to the fallen angel that he can't go back to heaven, that he is stuck here on earth.  Playing the bad cop for God, she is sad at what she has to do, but firm in what she has to say.  He can't come back, and must stay here on earth for eternity. That's it, no second chance, no way to earn his way back into the good graces of God.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Adam's Rib 2014

  In the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, chapters one through five, there are two creation narratives with two distinct perspectives..... In the second narrative, God fashions Adam from dust and places him in the Garden of Eden where he is to have dominion over the plants and animals. God places a tree in the garden which he prohibits Adam from eating. Eve is later created from one of Adam's ribs to be Adam's companion. However, the serpent tricks Eve into eating fruit from the forbidden tree.   Wikipedia

I often talk about creativity as being much like following a trail of breadcrumbs through a dark, dense  and overgrown forest.  In the case of creating "Adam's Rib" the breadcrumbs were there, but the trail was long and arduous, and the crumbs often few and far between. I knew that I wanted to connect the images from an old Gray's Anatomy book that my husband had discarded and I knew that I wanted to make a large, standing, figure from mirrored photographs of trees and vines, but I wasn't sure of anything much beyond that. For months, I cut and moved, and cut and moved, never really happy with where I was going.  Finally, from the Gray's Anatomy book, I began to form a pattern of images that corresponded with the body parts of a standing figure. I started to see the branches of the trees and the vines as a vascular system, and I began placing the pages next to where they would be(loosely) if they were in the body.  The figure became feminine, and I could see her ovaries and reproductive system in the pattern of the vines growing on a stuccoed wall.  The face became partially formed by a grouping of Sandhill Cranes and more tree branches, and I realized that, for me, the Sandhill Cranes were representations of a primitive and feminine nature.  Although the image was strong, it still didn't seem quite right, and then I came home from a walk with my mother with an image of a dead snake snake in my camera..  The last crumb was that image  and it was the addition of the snake that gave me the clue to the title--Adam's Rib.