Dec 20, 2010

december in the studio

Between the bike messenger bag, the chair and the cabinet, it seems pretty obvious where this painting is coming from - my stuff.  

It's a busy time in the studio right now as I wrap up a group of paintings for the show.  For months I drew, started paintings, drew some more, started more paintings, and looked a whole lot. I'm now in the final stages of wrapping everything up, taking in these paintings as a body  of work, wondering where it all came from.  I do each piece with an intention and a goal, but as I get into the actual application of paint, I allow for chance to have it's place in the process as well.  The fun part for me is seeing where intention and chance end up landing.

Things I've been thinking about in the studio are mostly formal:  

the vertical and the horizontal
expressionistic marks next to graphic marks
long lines over empty spaces 
layers of squares
heavy neutrals with splashes of color
building thoughtful grounds
using sign painter brushes for lines
chunky darks

Dec 12, 2010


This is from John Kelly's performance piece "Paved Paradise".  I saw him in New York a couple of years ago when he screened 'Blood of a Poet' at Queer/Art/Film.  During the Q&A  he said that when it comes to making art "I need permission all the time". A funny statement coming from someone who seemed really confident in his skin.  I jotted down the quote and later looked up his work.  This video has been in regular rotation since.

Honestly, I've never really been that into Joni Mitchell.  I appreciate and respect her, but she wasn't a life changing discovery for me like for so many others.  I have a few friends who  "listened to 'Blue' every day in high school."  I get that.  We obsess, repeatedly look at the same art, listen to the same records and read the same books over and over and over again because they give us permission to do our thing, which is why I've watched this video at least twice a month for the past two years.

In January I'm in a show at the Levy Gallery at the Buckman Performing Arts Center here in Memphis with Mary Catherine Floyd, the resident apprentice at the Metal Museum.  Last spring we met at the museum on a gorgeous spring day and sat at a picnic table batting around ideas for a title.  We talked a lot about a sense of place and rootedness, not just geographically but in our work as well.  I told her about John Kelly and the whole notion of needing permission. We were both drawn to the idea of intentionally claiming permission instead of waiting for it to randomly spring up. With that, we came up with the title "Permission to Roam". 

Well, it's time to get back to work.  Where's my wig, sparkly dress and microphone?

Dec 6, 2010

Dec 5, 2010

                                                                                                             (Mississippi River, 12.4.10)
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good. 
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

For Gloria Duane Langdon, 1947-2010 and Jim Shaw, 1956 - 2010,
two people who let their lives speak.