NEW PAINTINGS: MANDALAS CONSIDERED
CARBONDALE COUNCIL ON ARTS & HUMANITIES, LAUNCHPAD
JUNE 3- 25, 2016
I am opening this show at Carbondale Arts R2 Gallery at the Launchpad in Carbondale .These are new paintings from the past two plus years based on my appropriation of the mandala form.We are also doing a beautiful catalog for this work designed by Sharon Wells that features an Essay by Michael Cleverly and an Artist Statement as well as some 30 plates of the new work. The book will be for sale starting June 3 2016, watch for it!
at work on the Satch Drawings….
In June 2014, The Denver Art Museum purchased 4 drawings from my studio for their permanent collection.
In April of 2015 , two of the drawings were exhibited in the Museums drawing gallery on the second floor of the new building.
The show “collections” also included work by:
JOHN ALTOON, KEVIN APPEL, ALICE AYCOCK, RICHARD CARTER, AGNES DENES,
JAMES DRAKE, NICOLE EISENMAN, JACKIE FERRARA, KIKI SMITH, SUSAN ROTHENBERG, KEITH TYSON,
SANDRA VASQUEZ DE LA HORA, KARA WALKER, ABRAHAM WALKOWITZ, AND H.C. WESTERMANN
The following are the notes the Museum used to introduce the Drawings to the Museum staff…
“Three of the drawings that the DAM purchased are from a series of drawings done around 2005.
At the time I was very interested in painting and drawing the night sky and deep space imagery adding my own twists to satisfy my imagination. At the same time I was doing research on some imagery from the study of Particle Physics.
Of particular interest was the images generated by the collisions of electrons in a Particle collider.
In earlier pre-digital research of these collisions, the imagery of the reaction to electrons colliding was photographed in a solution of fluids in what was called a bubble chamber. What happened was the electrons would collide and spin of hundreds and thousands of new particles…usually protons… that would leave traces in this fluid medium and that allowed the researchers to generate photographic images of the reacting sub particles.
I searched on line to find many many sources depicting the results of these experiments. The images were incredible…high energy arabesque coils and jagged decomposing lines… incredible fan like forms of particles eminating from a single point and flying off in hundreds of directions before decomposing into scattered random marks that depicted things I know not.
All of this sometimes superimposed on a grid or with crosshair registration marks.
But all of it was an abstract wonderland of beautiful marks that seemed to me a fine subject for rendering in graphite on Hot Press watercolor paper.
In some cases I would stain the paper first with an acrylic wash and then draw over the color. In others I just worked over the raw paper. I would lay in the rough lines of a random sample of these images and than work up to those lines leaving the white or color to show thru. Other times I would use a smudger to soften the lines and forms to resemble what I was seeing! from the research photos.
The image of the Tree is a later drawing form 2012 and is part of a series of drawing done about various natural phenomena…Lightning strikes, Icebergs, Crows, and Trees .
This piece is under painted in acrylic wash and the tree is pencil drawn and the background sky is rubbed graphite powder. The “hatching” objects emanating out from the tree are erased from the background using a fine electric eraser. It is a very magic drawing and is inspired by my childhood fascination with fireflies while growing up on the East Coast. In this case they seem to have a common mission. I don’t know what that mission is however. ”
TRACES 22X30 GRAPHITE/ PAPER 2005
TWIN 15X22 GRAPHITE & ACRYLIC/ PAPER
CRUX 15X22 GRAPHITE & ACRYLIC /PAPER
HATCH 30X22 GRAPHITE & ACRYLIC 2010
My announcement to my collectors
Lots of crows.
…Mainly red crows.
The answer is, I really don’t know. They just arrived and moved themselves into scenarios that I have been treating in paint and graphite for years…nature in her many manifestations.
I had painted the night sky for several years to better understand the cosmos. I had drawn icebergs against the night sky to better understand the relationship between ice, sky and sea. I drew a large series of lightning strikes in graphite to better understand that phenomena and its effect on the atmosphere and light. I did a series of paintings in 2009-2010 about fire. These were all efforts in my continuing examination of natural phenomena.
Some of the fire paintings included images of crows in very difficult situations- burning atmosphere and falling black rain. That’s how the birds first emerged…as a metaphor for what was happening to life on earth. I became interested in the birds as life forms in the natural environments that I had been depicting for years. The crows presented themselves as the next thing to examine.
In that process, something magical happened. Something akin to Magical Realism; an enhanced sense of being for these birds and their world. They needed trees. The trees presented an altered reality. What was going on?
I find birds fascinating. I observe and photograph birds. I am intrigued by crows especially. I have read extensively about them and I just dig them as subjects. I have observed crows in their daily rituals for years. While living in Santa Monica I watched large groups of crows migrate past my home on a daily basis. They went southeast in the evening in a very clear flight path, and they flew back northwest in the morning. Their migrations moved laterally with the movement of the sun seasonally. Fascinated by the pattern, I followed them to see what they were doing, and where they were going. Crows are so smart, so intriguing
In addition to crows, I paint herons, because they are in my world here in Colorado and they too, are spectacular.
So, here they are, and they have me mystified. I wish I could tell you more of what it’s all about, but alas, no. I guess they have done their job after all.
Stone: Stunning moments: gobsmacked and speechless
Sometimes you get gobsmacked by art.
Yes, I said “gobsmacked” and I use that bit of British slang on purpose, because it isn’t an ordinary word and I’m talking about non-ordinary experiences: moments when you are caught by surprise, stunned, astonished, knocked sideways, forced to stop and think and re-evaluate.
That happened to me several times this summer.
The most recent was a few weeks ago at a party where, we had been informed (or, to my way of thinking, forewarned) that there would be a performance by an opera singer.
Now, as an uncultured boor, I know what I like … and opera ain’t on the list.
But I really love the people who were throwing the party and the food’s always great at their place — so if they wanted to subject me to a little opera, well, I was willing to make the sacrifice. (I’m really one hell of a guy.)
Then the young woman standing at the front of the room began to sing.And so, when we were all herded into the living room for the performance, I sat down, ready to do my bit with as little squirming as I could manage.
And I was … well, gobsmacked.
Blythe Gaissert looked like an ordinary human being — a beautiful young woman, which is one of my favorite kinds of human beings, but still there was nothing in her appearance to hint at the astonishing, relaxed power and beauty of her voice.
She sang for perhaps half an hour and I was entranced. No squirming. Not the least little bit — though I did turn and look out the window for a while at the sunlight playing on aspen leaves tossed by the breeze: the beauty of music and the beauty of the mountains.
I realize all the hard work and dedication that go into achieving something as effortlessly superb as her voice — but still it seemed like one of nature’s simple miracles.
No, I won’t be sprinting off to
the opera on a regular basis. But my eyes have been opened. My horizons expanded.
The second stunning moment ca
I’ve known and admired Carter forme when I went to Dick Carter’s art opening at his pop-up gallery on Midland Avenue in Basalt.
years, as a person and an artist. And when I say “artist,” I mean “painter,” because that’s what he does. He paints.
But this show was photography — and, frankly, I expected Carter might be a little lost in this new medium.
I doubled down on that expectation because the show was entirely photos taken out the window of his car on trips between Aspen and L.A. Shot with his iPhone. Without stopping the car.
I mean, come on.
So I showed up to offer a little support to an old friend as he stumbled into a new arena.
And I was prepared to do that very graciously because — ahem! — I have long considered myself a bit of a photographer. Carter was marching into my territory, so I was ready to offer encouragement to the new kid.
Then, damn it, I was gobsmacked again.
Because Dick Carter is an artist not in the sense of “painter.” He is an artist in the truest and largest sense: someone who has a mind and an eye and a heart that recognizes and synthesizes and creates and communicates with whatever materials come to hand.
I can’t tell you how his pictures were different from the pictures I would have taken out that same windshield with that same iPhone on that same drive — but they were.
His are art. Mine would have been a waste of time.
And, as with Blythe Gaissert’s singing, Dick Carter’s photographs left me enlightened and humbled.
My third gobsmacking experience happened months ago, but it remains so alive in my memory that when I started thinking about the other two events, this third one came immediately to mind.
It was reading Joe Henry’s book, “Lime Creek.”
Now, just as I went into Carter’s photo show thinking I was a bit of a photographer, so I dug into “Lime Creek” thinking I was a bit of a writer. And, just as looking at Dick Carter’s photos taught me a lot about photography, so reading Joe Henry’s book taught me a lot about writing.
I churn out these columns in a couple of hours, slapdash and stuck together with a bit of spit and a few cheap jokes.
Joe writes with care, dedication and determination — and just as the spit and slapdash show in my columns, Joe’s hard work shows in his book.
“Lime Creek” is about the American West. It takes that eternal myth of the cowboy and carries it from almost a century ago into just about right now — and along the way, it shakes the dust off the myth and turns it into something more than just mythical. Something real. Real and yet so immense and strong and exact that it moves beyond reality.
It’s a story of men and women and horses (and I really don’t give a damn about horses) and — looming above all, embracing all — the fierce Wyoming mountains.
I said it’s a story, but “story” isn’t quite the word. “Lime Creek” is a slim handful of episodes connected intimately and exquisitely by emotion and family and life — so much life they don’t need a “story.”
The people and their lives are both astonishing and ordinary in equal measure. No, not equal measure: entirely. Entirely ordinary and entirely astonishing.
Joe Henry starts from bone-deep knowledge of what he is writing about. And then, word by word, moment by moment, thought by thought, he assembles a world. Summer and bitter winter. Life, death, harvest, love.
I don’t know how he does it. I can’t even do a good job writing about it.
But that’s the nature of art.
To create something so extraordinary that it is exactly and only what it is.
I can no more write about Joe Henry’s writing than I can take a picture about Blythe Gaissert’s singing or sing about Dick Carter’s photographs.
I can only stand in awe and admiration.
Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His email address is email@example.com.
ASPEN TIMES, 8/28/13