Magdalena

2018   80x50X6 inches  Oil on canvas ,over sculpted foam on panel, three dimensional ,sculpted female, polished bronze hair  Signed by artist lower left front, signed dated back

2018

80x50X6 inches

Oil on canvas ,over sculpted foam on panel, three dimensional ,sculpted female, polished bronze hair

Signed by artist lower left front, signed dated back

Her pose is self-reflective, Magdalena is internalized and self-possessed. Her back turned to the artist and the viewer; she cares not. She is contemplative and self-aware, John Paul’s Mona Lisa.

A mighty expanse of alizarin crimson blood flows within; carrying teardrop forms, the lime colored forms, highlighted with zinc yellow.

These forms, her protean DNA, emerge from a winding internal canyon of deep burgundy, which defines the perimeter of her body in the picture. The forms are buoyant, gathering upward, seeking to manifest the woman in the world; another victory in sport or profession, or another loving act as wife and friend. This is my child.

A spring palette surrounds her. The twenty-five carved pieces of canvas are interposed to undulate and counterpoint one another, ever redirecting the viewers’ attention back to the subject, forming a colliding garden of moving components around her. In the background, textural spring floral oil paint mixed with sand flutters and stumbles across an azure hue of pale blue sky behind.

A competitive swimmer and triathlete, I have watched Magdalena remove her swim cap on the pool deck a hundred times after a race. Her long dark burnt umber hair would fall onto and through a waiting hand as she briefly groomed it and strained the water out . The long-mirrored shock of hair arises from the nape of her neck, arches over her head and passes down the length of a strong athletic torso and leg.

Effortlessly kneeling and passively stretching a limb, the cascade of polished bronze reaches her lower femur, It curves inward toward the other leg. I intend this long bronze metal shape to be perceived as a path of energy, originating in her spiritual center and returning to her lower body, thereby sustaining a continuum of graceful repose.

Lady in Waiting

2018   78x56X6 inches  Oil on canvas, over sculpted foam on panel, three dimensional, sculpted female, copper hair  Signed by artist lower left front, signed dated back

2018

78x56X6 inches

Oil on canvas, over sculpted foam on panel, three dimensional, sculpted female, copper hair

Signed by artist lower left front, signed dated back

“Lady in Waiting” is the muse of course. By that I mean, the presentation relies on the general map of a woman’s physical anatomy, totally impersonal, something which we know in a generic sense, she is no one in particular. No culture, race or political agenda or philosophy…only gender. The geometric forms, substitute her body parts and copper hair with abstract shapes, not realistically fashioned, lacking details of identity; not a specific person. Yet the structural architecture of feminine form prevails. It is an armature to compose a color and textural composition, to which I gave my full energy for three months in 2018.

The muse in the artistic context provides the possibility of much more in meaning, much less in identity. The power of symbolism replaces the power of ideological reason. Often one hears spoken; “what women want” or “what women think”. These statements always impress me as presumptuous. In symbolic presentation, the physical muse has a chance to get closer to woman.

Her existential being is presented as structure and Art. She is not illustrated, photogenic or nuanced. This image is not indebted to reality.

Further emphasizing her as symbol, the physically deepest and darkest part of this picture, closest to the unconscious, is her face...and it is absent. The absent face emphasizes the depth of the unconscious.. as most significant.Thus rendering the usual facial glamour of as irrelevant.

Her gesture is of course one of fixing her reddish mane (cut copper pate). I prefer a simple unpretentious act of self-maintenance, as it refers to herself, not a watching world.

The composition is two stacked rectangles. The lower has the back leg cutting diagonally through, upward (with elbow on knee) the upper rectangle, has the head and neck moving diagonally through upward in parallel,to aforementioned leg in bottom rectangle.

Finally the tittle: The initial oil sketch on canvas, the zinc yellow ground, tumbled through my life (studio) for ten years. I glanced or studied the canvas on a constant basis over that period. Finally, I formulated a strategy as to how I might proceed this year.

Alchema

2017   66.5 x 55.5 Inches  Oil on canvas over panel, resin, sculpted figure, metals, mixed media, oak frame

2017

66.5 x 55.5 Inches

Oil on canvas over panel, resin, sculpted figure, metals, mixed media, oak frame

I wanted to create a muse, a woman who existed before time. She is a priestess,  her attributes are both spiritual and ritualistic, yet she exhibits desire, she feels alone. She accesses the ethereal universe, inhabited by spirits and souls, yet she is a physical being whose purpose is to survive on formative earth.

We find her at home, in the location of her choosing; a tidal pool, protected by a rocky structure behind, separating her from the primordial brine from which she arose. She walks on all four limbs, ready for any threat.

Her habits, lifestyle and capabilities are expressed in symbols of her own conception. They are inscribed, and then inlaid in the craggy rock of the background, non-precious metals inlaid…maid precious. Their purpose and meaning,a proclamation of self to both the natural and spirit world. They are a statement or warning to any who trespass her territory. Or…we who simply observe. The symbols she has crafted are simultaneously abstract and real. They are her truths; home, protector, spirit medium, warrior, sensualist and survivor. Foremost she possesses the transformative Magik: she is the first alchemist.

She feels deeply. She is a medium and feels everything that mankind will ultimately feel, but does not understand to what end. She feels exhilaration at her apparent invincibility, but loneliness as she waits for an answer to the question, which haunts her; why am I here? She seeks to share her quest with a mate.

Like a predator in the wild, she drops her forehead laterally, in order to stack eyes vertically to better track a vertical prey; man. She has disposed of an intruder, an imposter, whose remains are dissembled at the bottom of the pool. Her silver hair catches sunlight from the sky, transforming it into fire. She has strung a necklace from his metacarpal bones.

She is the progenitor of all our feelings and aspirations. She is the super-man that Nietchze described, a human who existed before the invented gods.

Like the Greek warriors who follow centuries later, Alchema is intimately connected to her prey. The fallen prey, sustains her life and fulfills a hunters imperative. She devours his flesh and drinks the psych’nous from his skull ,extracting it through alchemized daggered hair.

She notices you. Her head is cocked at an extreme angle, suddenly alerted to your presence. You are prey who entered a predator’s vision.

La Cathedral

2017  80 x 45 x 9 Inches  Oil on canvas on panel over sculpted foam, three dimensional sculpted female, bronze hair

2017

80 x 45 x 9 Inches

Oil on canvas on panel over sculpted foam, three dimensional sculpted female, bronze hair

While running in the woods in the High Country of Northern California this picture came to me complete, a vision intact.

I had run 3 miles pretty much straight uphill with a friend to Alpine Lake near Bear Mountain. The thin air and subsequent oxygen debt undoubtedly contributed to the scene burgeoning in my minds eye; a woman being borne, coming into being, as if a vapor ,slowly assuming a shape.…. something like ‘Eve’.

She would rise upward from a pedestal, opening like pedals of a flower or a formative gas …coming forth simultaneously outward from inside of the painting, toward the viewer. I thought her appearance at first glance should be both abstract and a life-like. This duality intended to suspend the viewers understanding momentarily of what exactly was taking place; fantasy, reality or both.

I wanted fundamental elements from that day to be present too. The White birch trees were essential and would became a useful color design element. Seeing the light through the trees limbs, a cloudscape behind of luminous and dark clouds were observable that day and a distant horizon.

Later that summer day ,while descending from Alpine Lake, I collected bark, from the forest floor, not entirely sure what I would do with it.

Weeks later in New York, I found myself sketching then painting the scene. As the picture evolved I determine to sculpt the figure, giving it preeminence in front of the landscape. I needed her it emerge from the background.I used the collected bark for the surface a sculpted tree stump. The logistics would be daunting; to keep the picture both light in weight and manageable in scale as it was developing into a 3-D reality of its own.

I spent exactly 3 months; sketching the overall, painting the landscape, sculpting the figure, finally crafting the bronze hair and assembling the whole, to resemble my vision while ascending to Alpine Lake.

Aura III

An aura is scientifically explained as an electrical field surrounding a body, different pale hues implying, variation in strength.. Frankly I have been occasionally observing them since my youth, so too have others. I have come to believe that the particular hue implies more than electrical strength, rather the age of the soul. While running the reservoir in Central Park, May ‘16, I started imagining a new figure…suspended, a body not hindered by gravity, potentially a fitting way to express spiritual freedom, a vivid spirit moving inside also. What I saw in my minds eye was a tangle of flesh suspended in space, the origin of the paintings “Aura III, IV” occurred there and then, on the running track. Later that day I embarked on new sketches, contemplating a degree of logic in setting (background) to balance the impossible poses. That balance of irrational subject and logical setting, seduces the viewer in ways that are difficult for one to resist.

On sheets of white paper I started sketching designs of women as if on a trapeze, always considering the resulting spaces between their contorted limbs, spine, torso head, hands and feet. Maximizing the negative resulting shapes between give an apparently realistic image abstract strength. Through the negative space, one can also glimpse the background too, essential to the story.. I made many sketches approx.’ 30 attempts, abut 10-12 were plausible candidates to paint on canvas. The drawing stage lasted 10 days. In bringing a raw idea to life, I would need to add femininity to the imagined poses. The danger when contorting and twisting a female figure, the result may be more monsters, than beauty. I am dedicated to avoiding this. I seek to represent “woman” at her idealized best, considering the poise of ballet and grace of sport; supple lines, pointed toes and self-aware.

The two backgrounds; circus tent interior and the Pantheon of Rome are completely freehand. Photographs were not transferred, rather I glanced at photos of the Pantheon for architectural accuracy and closed the book. I firmly believe in the fallibility of the human hand and imagination. Constant contemplation and lengthy adjustments of perspective and scale ensued. The backgrounds are not painted in oil, rather with extremely matt, flat finish tempera (Flash).

Finally the time arrived when the detailed figures assume their pose, when the background is complete. The final stage of rendering the aerialist, and then brushing in the ribbons of color aura electrical fields follows. Several more days of adjustment and re-coloring took place. The last step is encasing the Spirit or Soul, after months of work (Pantheon), the final hair-raising work session and lasted two days. The encasement is exactly that. Although not discernable in digital image, the figure has a ¼ inch of liquid resin on top of it(hi-gloss). The pour of resin is a very dicey technique and all can be lost. But if successful, defines the black and colored aura area inhabited on painting surface by flesh, as clear protoplasm. Visually it is super-shiny-brilliant, contrasting the extreme matt background interior. The result is an invention of mine; I have never seen it done before.

Aura IV

50 x 40 Inches    2016    Acrylic, Resin and Oil on Canvas

50 x 40 Inches

2016

Acrylic, Resin and Oil on Canvas

An aura is scientifically explained as an electrical field surrounding a body, different pale hues implying, variation in strength.. Frankly I have been occasionally observing them since my youth, so too have others. I have come to believe that the particular hue implies more than electrical strength, rather the age of the soul. While running the reservoir in Central Park, May ‘16, I started imagining a new figure…suspended, a body not hindered by gravity, potentially a fitting way to express spiritual freedom, a vivid spirit moving inside also. What I saw in my minds eye was a tangle of flesh suspended in space, the origin of the paintings “Aura III, IV” occurred there and then, on the running track. Later that day I embarked on new sketches, contemplating a degree of logic in setting (background) to balance the impossible poses. That balance of irrational subject and logical setting, seduces the viewer in ways that are difficult for one to resist.

On sheets of white paper I started sketching designs of women as if on a trapeze, always considering the resulting spaces between their contorted limbs, spine, torso head, hands and feet. Maximizing the negative resulting shapes between give an apparently realistic image abstract strength. Through the negative space, one can also glimpse the background too, essential to the story.. I made many sketches approx.’ 30 attempts, abut 10-12 were plausible candidates to paint on canvas. The drawing stage lasted 10 days. In bringing a raw idea to life, I would need to add femininity to the imagined poses. The danger when contorting and twisting a female figure, the result may be more monsters, than beauty. I am dedicated to avoiding this. I seek to represent “woman” at her idealized best, considering the poise of ballet and grace of sport; supple lines, pointed toes and self-aware.

The two backgrounds; circus tent interior and the Pantheon of Rome are completely freehand. Photographs were not transferred, rather I glanced at photos of the Pantheon for architectural accuracy and closed the book. I firmly believe in the fallibility of the human hand and imagination. Constant contemplation and lengthy adjustments of perspective and scale ensued. The backgrounds are not painted in oil, rather with extremely matt, flat finish tempera (Flash).

Finally the time arrived when the detailed figures assume their pose, when the background is complete. The final stage of rendering the aerialist, and then brushing in the ribbons of color aura electrical fields follows. Several more days of adjustment and re-coloring took place. The last step is encasing the Spirit or Soul, after months of work (Pantheon), the final hair-raising work session and lasted two days. The encasement is exactly that. Although not discernable in digital image, the figure has a ¼ inch of liquid resin on top of it(hi-gloss). The pour of resin is a very dicey technique and all can be lost. But if successful, defines the black and colored aura area inhabited on painting surface by flesh, as clear protoplasm. Visually it is super-shiny-brilliant, contrasting the extreme matt background interior. The result is an invention of mine; I have never seen it done before.

No Room For Doubt

2016  60 X 48 X 6 Inches  Oil on Canvas Over Sculpted Foam, Polished Aluminum Frame, Brass Plate Hair

2016

60 X 48 X 6 Inches

Oil on Canvas Over Sculpted Foam, Polished Aluminum Frame, Brass Plate Hair

I never expected to paint the woman entirely in red. I had readied the background; anticipation was building within as to how I was going to color her. I wanted to paint a woman who’s emotion was %100 unified, unequivocal,” No Room for Doubt”. She loved someone with her entire being, I wanted this expressed. Soon after I unscrewed the tubes of red, stopping would not be possible. It was strange, memorable, wonderful work session, worth noting here. As soon as I started applying the red oil paint, my heart raced, my breath shallow’d and I was barely able to control the material, the painting was driving itself.Applying a brushy red on white surface was going to be like diving off a cliff and hoping for deep water.Best to enjoy the view because the landing could be dicey.I saw the color arrangement in my minds eye from the beginning. Yet I was surprised when the red/white ruled the cooler hue easily. Her pose implies forward movement(viewers right).Even the background forms are somewhat reminiscent the dust cloud raised when ‘The Roadrunner’(cartoon) took off at full speed ,spinning his wheels(feet) momentarily and would appear at full speed exiting the cloud of dust.

Blue Dance

Oil On Canvas Over Sculpted Forman, Baas Relief  46x70 Inches

Oil On Canvas Over Sculpted Forman, Baas Relief

46x70 Inches

This picture started out as an oil, flat on canvas, I had every intention of keeping that way. One of the better backgrounds I had yet lucked upon, nice movement and a satisfying composition of warm colors; ultramarine rose, earth orange , raw umber. I liked the gritty black line tracing throughout the rectangle like a cowboy wrangler's lasso, under, around, below and over the top. .  On the other side of the studio I was delighted with a pose which emerged out of group of sketches that I had worked on for several weeks. A drawing of a dancer; I eliminated one of the arms and enlarged the other to balance the leg carriage underneath. The hair streaming off to the left compensated for the absent arm. I was very fond of the torso and wanted to present it unfettered by limbs, like a classical bust. The shoulders, breast shapes and tummy are an arrangement that fit together in a most appealing way, my favorite precinct of the picture.    What I did not anticipate was the warm medium dark back ground would not be easily overcome by a cool hued figure. Warms tend to dominate cools when located behind. To create contrast it, the body would have to be a very light blue and….it just did not work!   I was blinded by belief and anticipation , the requisite optimism i I need to create something from nothing ;I did not expect it would fail,..   The figure would not visually lift off, separate from its background. Being an airborne dance movement increased this imperative. I brought the picture up from my studio to the gallery and soon I overheard a disparaging comment. I was crestfallen, dashed, hurt…destroyed!...the painting returned to the storage rack for two years. The observer was correct.  However during that period I never stopped considering it, pulling it out and reconsidering strategies , contemplating a the means of liberating the figure. How to let it soar above the background?  After the success of Black Beach Beauty, came an epiphany; I saw in my minds eye the gleaming form which now appears to the left.  I cut out the blue figure in canvas, so many pieces dropped to the floor. Over period of six weeks I carved a three dimensional figure and then transformed the background into undulating planes interposed.

What Have I Become

2012  72 X 48 X 4 Inches  Background: Oil on canvas over sculpted  Figure: Oil on sculpted foam  Frame: Polished, welded aluminum

2012

72 X 48 X 4 Inches

Background: Oil on canvas over sculpted

Figure: Oil on sculpted foam

Frame: Polished, welded aluminum

If possible I like the being depicted to have a clearly stated mood. It is important to stop well short of illustrating this, rather have it become evident, arise from body language, select facial features, color and fragmentation and paint handling. The head despairingly propped by the right hand the omnipotent detachment of the left arm conveys a self divided. I was particularly pleased by the odd composure of the two legs, suggesting frontal and profile simultaneously. The isolated torso tilted left at length south to north contribute to her resignation. The resulting spaces allow the sap green and burnt sienna background to come through. They performed nicely contrasting the highlighted and contoured Prussian blue body

Drumming Her Fingers

          2013            60x48 Inches             Oil on canvas over sculpted foam             Bronze frame

          2013

         60x48 Inches

         Oil on canvas over sculpted foam

         Bronze frame

A figure at rest allows weight shifts and limb locations within the restraints of gravity. A fascinating sculptural form is the thrill I am always seeking. She is expectant, slightly anxious but poised. These elements were worked out quickly on a scrap of paper made at an outdoor café while observing a New Yorker. The commitment to a color scheme occurred quickly; as soon as I stained the raw canvas background with pale Earth Orange and transparent Zinc Yellow .The dark, cool body hues are dragged over with dry brushed cobalt Violet light. This is the point when the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. A thin veil was applied of sand over the entire canvas before painting the muse.This allows the joy of gently scumbled oil paint over her limbs. I will cherish this painting for the single brush stroke which begins at the right breast, includes her chin and ends with flipped hair.

Black Beach Beauty

Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas Over Sculpted Foam  48X65 Inches

Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas Over Sculpted Foam

48X65 Inches

This painting was an unexpected turning point in my work and possibly my life. I had decided ‘Black Beach’ would be my last 3-D painting. That being said, I would give it every opportunity to succeed..I had planned the passages in advance; the black sand background, copper slatted lounge chair diagonally positioned, half on beach and half in water.  I saw it in my minds eye as a compositional lock..  I would handle the figure very differently than ever before. Although somewhat abstract I would sculpt her parts entirely round and imbed them into the chair.   In previous outings the roundness of human form was achieved through illusion; illustrated on flat canvas planes and interposed with one another.. In ‘Black Beach Beauty’ foam would be sculpted round with a smooth stone patina surface, painted pale Naples Yellow. I envisioned something as shiny as automobile bumper.   From the beginning the thrill of the 3-D paintings was; the sculptural feel wedded to the painterly. Quite honestly , my first allegiance was to painting. In this work the sculptural element presides. An observer made a comment during the progress of this work-  ” the lines in the sand look very French”. I was uplifted to hear this. The lines in the sand lend simplicity like only line can. It  was my way of importing wind to the beach albeit with French curves. I wanted to keep the body abstract and avoid descriptive devices .Rendering the face in simple line also was a natural extension of the drawing and lent a dash of futurism.  Finally throughout the sketching and planning stages ;the mood of the water was going to be a roiling frolic. The reaction of the sea to the presence of beauty of the beautiful girl on the chair.. I let this notion remain unchecked in my mind. With every wave piece I sculpted the feeling and the vision increased and the exuberance of the water was paramount. When rendering the sea in-a classical painting technique or sculpting it abstract, one is consulting the laws of physics... chaos and order into beauty.

Harbinger

2015  65 X 96 Inches  Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas over Board

2015

65 X 96 Inches

Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas over Board

There are opportunities when creating a painting to utilize the same substance as medium that one is describing as subject. This is true of the foreground hillside described in “Harbinger”. The big horned mountain goat and its young are seen plodding up a grooved terraced hillside. I built up the ground on the canvas over board surface with a thick impasto of sand and mineral under their hooves. I then carved sanded and stained it with tertiary (earth) tones. 
 Mother goat and kid are being beckoned to a mystical event by the distant music of a legendary Hopi entity. He can be seen, perched on a ledge in the middle ground right above. The same tribal mystic, the horn blower, is pictured in a petroglyph (barium red) in the foreground rocks, under the goat’s surefooted strides.

The Hopi ancient artist describes the calling to witness a mystic event about to unfold in the painting. This part is not a fiction. I saw the ancient red image while running in the hills surrounding Canyonland Park and the clearing of assembled boulders from a distance near Lake Powell of southern Utah. Helen and I were following a trail of known Hopi and native American cave and rock petroglyphs , indicated on a map.
 The whirlpool like arrangements of clouds in sky convey foreboding, gathered above the clearing of arranged boulders below, where the event will take place. The lightning and general mood foretell of the approaching cataclysmic moment, one of supernatural significance manifest by the gathering cosmic forces. 

 This picture was prompted by the arrival of the year of the goat, the 8th sign in the Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese interpretation of the goat is one who is gentle and cooperative. The western astrological interpretation however, visualized in a constellation of stars observed by Greek sailors; the goat is formidable, very determined, completing its trek up the hill despite danger and difficulty. I have always been in awe at the appearance and poise of mountain goats (ironically my birth occurred astrologically under Capricorn, represented by the goat)….The big horn goat, So at ease in environments of uncertainty and danger, never making a misstep (if that were only true of me). 

Our runs and explorations led me to another location in the southern Utah desert, where it transforms into the “Valley of the Kings”. A region of magnificent rock formations, where violent erosion from rivers carved out towering sculptures of stone during in the primordial era. I felt something preternaturally strong from these places while there. The feeling travelled with me through the years, ultimately moving me to create this picture in the year of the Goat..

Woman in High Back Chair

2014  Oil On Canvas Over Sculpting Foam, Fabricated Aluminum   

2014

Oil On Canvas Over Sculpting Foam, Fabricated Aluminum

 

Blissfully dozing, head resting on her shoulder and lips parted. Her breasts the shape of summer fruit and limbs gathered comfortably. Her peacefulness still amazes me for all the industry which took amid her slumber. It was a long process with this picture; engaging, inspired and tedious at times. The transformation from graphite drawing to 3-D painting was gradual. I spent a year from rough oil sketch to completed assembly of the 60 separate parts spread out on my studio floor. Every methodology I possess was called upon; ink drawing, oil and impasto painting, whittling sculpting and shaping the foam, cutting up then adhering the canvas, fabricating the aluminum, carpentry of the hidden frame. The sitting surface of the chair is constructed from bent aluminum tubing wrapped around a steel armature. The upper chair back is solid spokes positioned radial, cut and integrated to the hidden Lewan wood(lightweight) armature within the piece. All the metallic surfaces etched and sanded in my studio , have a uniform untarnished patina. The pale alloy is sufficiently light and the 60 pieces are canvas over sculpted foam, Alone, I can pick up the 62X50 inch piece and hang it on the wall. The rigid solidity and lightness is a feat worth mentioning as I keep in mind the probable habitat when making these sculptural paintings. This too a philosophical tenet worthy of note, as I am not an elitist. Ultimately it matters greatly to NOT place oneself above the audience,.. Outsizing the walls that people live within implies the artist is targeting museums or privileged environments. I do not. No one assists in the fabrication of my drawings, paintings or sculptures. What the viewer entreats is entirely a product my own hands and mind. My works are uncompromisingly original. There is thick impasto of gritty paint covering the various surfaces of the canvas pieces. I used a bakers icing trowel ,palette knives and brushes of all sizes to apply the color/sand mix to the surface. In closing I would leave you with an intended paradox; the rough cut shapes, brusque and thick, application of paint is devoted to describing one who is precious and vulnerable, she is asleep.