An abandoned pool behind my childhood home in the South became the touchstone for a body of work about loss, passage, memory, and perseverance. Meanwhile, as I was leaving my home California, I purchased flowers as an act of love and gratitude, and painted arrangements inspired by floral designs found in vintage garden club calendars.
No surprises, but the blog is more or less a run-on sentence for all my work, so I’m having some difficulty compressing the past two years into a pithy statement. I suppose I could grab sentences from posts here and there, and be done with it. I'd do it too, if I had time to make my statement another art project. I'm not going to show the abstracts from 2009. I'll refer to those as The Lost Months of Separation Anxiety. TLMOSA consist of 22 abstract paintings, and since those are already neatly titled, it's great to know I have a second solo show in my pocket. I could, in fact, construct a pocket for those works and be speaking literally, but that does not help me now. In the future it will, but not now.
With regard to the works in the upcoming show, (Sept. 25-October 31, 2010) I obviously spent some time in the studio making physical contact with a canvas, but many hours were spent dealing with grown-up issues I didn't want to deal with— air travel back and forth across the United States, and my best attempt at plugging an emotional drain. I'm not going to let a few sentences hold me back. I'm good with painting deadlines. I knew I needed to have the work completed before I left Los Angeles. I have 17 paintings. I thought it was 13, but I found 4 more when my boxes arrived from L.A. The last pool painting was finished before my mom died. The last flower painting was completed while I was having open houses and packing up my belongings on the West Coast. Some of the titles came easily, but the titling department took a leave of absence and most of paintings have been waiting for nomenclature. For the longest time I had Southern Gothic on my mind, not as a literary genre, but as a sentenced lifestyle. I blow things out of proportion sometimes. It's a coping strategy.
I came across a book of John Ruskin’s when I arrived here. I'm estimating this house contains over a thousand books, most of which were published before I was born. Ruskin's Works was in a bookcase in the office. The book was at eye level. In a moment of insight, I chose 13 poetic and relevant titles. It was a good start, but by one o'clock in the morning, I was trolling through Southern Gothic literature while listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and grabbing titles from sad country music ballads, the soundtrack to Donnie Darko, and a postcard from my dad. I also drew from my powerhouse of vocabulary I've built up over the years, as exemplified in the title, "Plank." As of this morning, I believe I am done. I haven't talked much about the process of painting, but I made a video about my palette. That should count for something.
Now here's the truncated version of a statement for public consumption;
Pools and Flowers: Elusive Passages from the Chapters of Time
Like most of my paintings, these began as pleasant-enough stain paintings. The paintings were motivated by personal circumstances occurring over the last two years. They are small, and smallish paintings. The small paintings reminded me of chapters from a paperback book. It’s a disjointed narrative dealing with the fluidity of time, memories, reminders, and loss. In a longer version I would tell you these painting also deal with concepts of space and time. The paintings are more or less representational, depicting an abandoned swimming pool, and flowers. I thought I had painted more flowers, but it turns out, I painted mostly pools. I tried to get away from John Ruskin and Modern Painters, but while clearing out some belongings at the house I grew up in, I spotted a book of Ruskin’s works, titled, Ruskin’s Works. The pool is outside my bedroom window and is partially covered in a blanket of moss and lichen. A bullfrog lives there. I buy fresh flowers once a week.