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Monthly Archives: November 2010

Talismans and why I need them

Watching a morning show a few days ago, I found the stories to be mostly sad, so, I used that to continue my painting ‘Bad News’ from an earlier post. I also find the ‘Housewives of …’ phenomenon to be an entertaining way to reinforce society’s misogyny, while simultaneously perverting the feminist idea that women can contribute to society outside of the home. I made my own Housewives painting, using my experiences growing up on Long Island as a backdrop. This work continues the theme of women as monsters, especially when interacting with one another intimately. I will explore this further in a painting I have begun entitled Diva does Diana. In the mean time, I have also been creating talismans to protect me from such thoughts. Happy Thanksgiving.

In an altered state
Influenced by images of dissected cadavers
In a hell-like background
Seems to be flying off the canvas
Painted on a small black carrying case

Dulcinéia Cartadora

I came across some joyously painted cardboard-covered books at work yesterday. The collective of artists and community members who create them, Dulcinéia Catadora, purchase the cardboard from “cartoneros,” or garbage pickers. They pay more than the street price. A local creative writing group writes the poetry, plays, or stories which become the pages within the cardboard. The cardboard is painted with gouache to create colorful and enticing covers. This image is from Dulcinéia Catadora’s blog:

Books created by Dulcinéia Catadora

You can keep up with their activities through their blog:

or read more about them at:

What a wonderful way to bring art to the community, and the world.

Gallery hopping in New York City

At the Frick today, I saw the drawings of Goya, the master of black, gray, and, not surprisingly, the master of light, because darkness and light are better conveyed when juxtaposed. He did this beautifully in ink and wash. Sometimes, he loaded his brush and created black pools, then, because the artist was not especially enamored with gentle transitions of tone, we often encounter the lightest ink shapes and lines, and the voluptuous cream of paper. Each drawing reflects themes of darkness and light; for instance, one drawing of two old people floating, almost dancing in air, entitled Mirth, depicts each with deathlike faces. We sense their happiness, but for how long?

A few steps away, John Walker paintings are on display at Knoedler. The canvases, some of which depict smoke and fire, seem to be painted with burnt pigment, almost coal like. Walker, like Goya, is an artist who explores darkness, allowing the painting surface of unprimed canvas to speak of light. And, as in the case of Goya, light is anything but bright. An interesting, and sometimes sexy array of Grenfell Press prints and books are on display downstairs.

Lunch at Via Quadronno was exquisite. My open faced sandwich of tuna and artichoke hearts was sweet and mellow-no fishy taste at all. I finished the meal with tiramisu that brought memories of Village cafes with art school friends from twenty years ago. Rich, creamy, with a dusting of cocoa, it was well worth the expense, and the attendant artery hardening. Don’t let the crowd or the wait deter you from visiting this wonderful and friendly eaterie.

I raced through the Grolier Club exhibits, only really taking in an early example of chromolithography used in book publishing and a book of hand colored lithographs of birds of New York in the John Wiley & Sons exhibit, as well as some complicated-looking prints in artists’ books from publisher David R. Godine.

More running to catch the exhibition of photographs from the collection of Laurence Miller at his gallery. I had to slow down because the images deserved a thorough look. This was a nice way to finish the day, as I had started it at Hermes, viewing the photos of Jerry Thompson and Walker Evans. The prints in both shows are artful and brilliant, and should appeal to anyone who loves grays and appreciates the beauty and sadness to be found in photographs of ordinary people.

Diana the huntress

This theme popped up while I was working on images of the heart and the body. It is a way for me to illustrate a fascination with power that has occupied me since I began painting at Carnegie-Mellon. I see Diana as both beautiful and powerful, and her dogs are her servants. By extension, I see love for a beautiful woman as a loss of power. And I see the love between two women as a constant struggle for power.

Portrait of a heart
Body reclining
Diana with servant
Diana as a diva
In process
Used an image of a woman's abdomen dissected