The portrait show opened yesterday at The Arts Council of Princeton Paul Robeson Center for the Arts The other artists in the show are Kim Alsbrooks, Mary DeWitt, and Jim Doherty. Maria Evans curated the exhibition.
I am working on another painting of Gregory now. But I need to give his sister Alicia most of the credit. She dressed him up and photographed him so these are her ideas.
I am challenging myself to create group portraits. It is a continuation of expressing the notion that that those who are prisoners, whether criminals or victims are connected to us and we to them. I did some drawings of groups when I was exploring images of my father as a child during World War II. These drawings led me back to the whole painting surface, as I am using negative and positive space to bring the picture into harmony. This was influenced by a talk I gave at the George School, when I spoke of how I was breaking the rule I learned in school of covering the whole canvas with paint. I rejected this in my series of fighters; now I am returning to it. My reading of the finely researched and brilliantly written David Park: a painter’s life by Nancy Boas also contributed to my thoughts about this painting. Park is my role model because of his ability to convey the universality of people. He did it with amazing technique, energy and integrity.
At least I have this to show for my week-long bout with illness. Perhaps my desire to move as quickly as I could, but being unable to move at more than a glacial pace, is the reason for this painting’s somewhat frenzied paint application. Or it could just be my usual need to plow forward, tearing myself away from my limiting idea of what a painting must be. One thing I am happy about is that I allowed the paint to create the painting: thoughtful of course, but with healthy doses of spontaneity and serendipity. A very effective prescription.