Fallen Towers

Oil on Canvas  60 x 84 Inches  2004

Oil on Canvas

60 x 84 Inches

2004

I have looked into the hole in the ground for many months .  Filling the void with something hopeful and loving is what my minds conjured when I look there. A bed of clouds moves in . The ethereal cloud substance tenderly supports and elevates the lovers above the recent past and its painful memory.The bedroom becomes the their beloved NYC. The walls are removed the bedroom are the city. Their soft bed of clouds contrast the abrasive brick and mortar, steel and glass.   I work from a particular vision ,a hallucination if you like, I always have.I starred at this large blank canvas for a week. When I know what I’m going to paint I’ll do how ever many sketches necessary to feel confident before starting.The elements are painted realistic but the vision is a fantasy. This painting required numerous architectural sketches and the Double Helix in the sky too. I wanted uplifting architecture to redefine the downtown skyline. Fortunately the LMDC, NYC and NY State officials wanted it too. The 2 largest structures nearest the viewer, THE FREEDOM TOWERS and The 80 South St. Tower were in conceptual stages when I imagined this painting. In May ’04 when I started seeing this painting in my minds eye the only designs available for these bld.’s were the finalists sketches on the cover of N.Y. POST. Websites had little and there still are no blu-prints in the public domain for these buildings. At length I managed to get a fairly clear idea as to what Mr. Liberskind and Santiago Calatrava had in mind for the two main structures in the foreground. It was somewhat of a challenge to paint the buildings accurately before they are built. Time will tell over the next several years how well I have accurately imagined there appearance.  Everyone downtown eventually spends an evening in the bar @ City Hall. It is an exceptional honor for me to have ‘Fallen Towers’ exhibited in CITY HALL. Elisha and Henry Meer are gracious friends and neighbors. They share with me an optimism about the future that is expressed in this picture. I have felt for many years that City Hall is the quintessential downtown Manhattan place. There is a vibe which is what downtown is and feels like to me readily found there. I am proud and happy to have this painting on the magnificent brick wall opposite the bar.  Fallen Towers” describes and awaits the future in a context of love and a vision of tranquility

Paris Window

Oil on Canvas  50 x 68 Inches

Oil on Canvas

50 x 68 Inches

Paintings are a diary of an artist’s life. This was the last picture I painted before a fall. There are events in ones life that destroy you a little. Not unlike the towns tallest tree brought down by lightning, no one could believe it possible, least of all the tree. An artist benefits immeasurably from the potency of an intact ego, more essential than paint, brush and canvas. The notion of indestructibility, a chimera as it turns out. The muse at hand, a sturdy sculptural form, a construct of my former illusion. There is no doubt in her sanguine expression as she gazes into a mirror unseen and prepares for the evening ahead. The space resulting from her arms framing her head and elbow pivoting on her knee, create a passage for the background color to enter and flow throughout the picture. Her beau colic gaze is satisfied by her muliebral reflection in the cheval glass not seen. This contentedness produces a smile which the picture evolves around. So sweet is her delight as she beholds her own visage. The behemoth unfeminine hand( required to span the distance from wrist to the part of her hair)is adequately countervailed by the felicity of her expression. In ‘Parting’ no tract of paint is left unfettered. Each precinct of color is layered with tonal and hue fluctuations, textured sand and grit ,particularly the whitish body. The net effect ? it is not really white. The slight tonalities under and over the white include varying light values of every other hue in the picture inviting an interdependence throughout. I remember how I felt the night I finished this picture. I am wondering if I will ever feel that way again.

Burial at Sea

Oil on Canvas  60 x 72 Inches

Oil on Canvas

60 x 72 Inches

Someone asserted “this is a narrative picture!”. Well O.K. every picture tells a story , problem is ,often not the one intended by the teller,it’s the one seen by the viewer. Such is the way of the unconscious mind. My own perceptions have slowly evolved past recognizing normal constraints of the subject in narrative art . I feel this way as member of the audience and as artist. What I enjoy most about novels and movies is seldom the intended subject. This holds true in my paintings of New York.  It is understandable that few artists are inclined to take on the city as subject, given the abundance of peripheral subject matter and the daunting amount of detail, viewer and artist easily succumb to chaos. A plethora of street paintings exist but the pedestrian’s perspective from ground up does not allow for an unfettered view of building tops. This is where the action is. Where Dionysian ego and American social aspiration meet.   To paint New York one has to be willing to re- invent the viewers line of sight, make architectural studies and paint every window. Yet without transcendent metaphor a painting New York would be only a grand exercise.     The impression of seeing it all, when one is encountering selective detail, providing the illusion of the whole, is a useful kind of math. I have come to believe much of what a painter does is to earn the interest of the audience and then conduct the attention … thus, a painters painter’s strategy. The composite interplay of technique and design add the energy of vision , magic of inspiration both are required when attempting a big picture of NY.    The girdered city fascinates and inspires awe, it engages the imagination ,it engages the dreaming and  didactic mind simultaneously.  Engineering , architecture, social order, physics and design…… a perfect opportunity to ambush the viewers precious interest with the unexpected. Dream elements are quite normal to me, they gain heightened impact by virtue of laborious quotidian detail.  Social art forms have jaded the audience with ever  special effects, hamper authentic surrealism. Films often forego the tedious nest making required by quality symbolist work. For me imagination and symbol are expressed most poignantly by an artist working alone, the primary domain of the painter and poet.     New York is the alluring dream I had throughout my childhood, from a distant place.  I continue to perceive it as I did then through the filter of imagination. I have and will continue to paint it exquisitely as possible, quite a few years hence.