Skip to content

photographs

My work has changed

These look best together. I photographed images from movies and media, and manipulated them in Photoshop. Then I created paintings from the changed images. I have an idea that our perceptions are false, and therefore when we look at people we see our false images of them. Movies, photographs and stories in the media all serve to cloud or blur our vision. Hence the blurriness of some of these, as well as the soft focus in others.

Artist’s Statement

The past in the present. The present seen more powerfully and clearly through the past. Archives have long been controlled by the anointed few, and used by scholars who had the inclination to view their contents. With the advent of digitization, many archives have been opened to anyone with a computer and access to the internet. Personal pictorial archives can also be found on blogs, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, among other sites. In my series of painted portraits of Olympic Club fighters, taken from a photo album found in the Rare Books and Special Collections Department of Princeton University, I began the exploration of a particular photographic archive of mostly anonymous athletes. Their faces are a vocabulary I read and interpreted through the application of paint on canvas. To communicate emotions, I roughly built up the surface of the paint, and created color combinations that were jarring to the eye. I used dripping and rapid brushwork to create movement. Through these painterly procedures I was symbolically bridging the gap between past and present. With my recent portraits painted from photographs from public and private collections I am continuing my desire to connect the present to the past while adding my imagery to the flourishing archives of today.

Treasure

Yesterday, I found magic in the material form of a scrapbook containing photographs of pugilists. Their faces contain much of life: fear, sorrow, loneliness, humor, despair, and, though beaten, maintaining dignity, and persevering. I can’t wait to put this treasure to use. The photos will allow me to fuse my older, sports-themed work with my newer paintings. To only display one page from the scrapbook is a tease, at best, but I will. More can be discovered about this stunning group of photographs on Julie Mellby’s Graphic Arts Blog.

From a scrapbook of San Francisco area fighters, 1917?-1930

Photographs and artists

Susie Linfield’s book Cruel Radiance, has me wondering how artists engage with history through the interpretation of photographs. I want to bring empathy to our viewing of photographs, which is why I have chosen certain images. When I began creating paintings from photographs, I used my parents’ posed wedding photo. The image, and my reaction to it, allowed me to unleash my conflicted feelings about their doomed relationship. Almost thirty years later, I am still dissecting photographs, and with them, often complex emotions such as guilt, shame, and sadness. My painting, Three Faces, depicts Rosa Parks, an unidentified child prisoner of the Khmer Rouge photographed before her execution, and a baby with facial paralysis. These “documentations of cruelty” (Linfield, p. 70) force viewers into conflicting positions. We are standing where their jailers, executioners, and doctors stood, yet, we are able to see them anew; to meet their gazes with love and compassion. I post the images I am working on now: in addition to Three Faces, one, tentatively titled Ex utero; the other, Surgery:

Love, empathy, and compassion

Just beginning

 

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.