Monday, April 19, 2010

My eulogy for Jack Boynton

For those who have expressed interest:

We are here to share our memories of Jack Boynton, beloved husband, father, and friend.
Memories are precious to us all.
They contain our personal, collective history.
You have your memories, here are a few of mine.
When I arrived in Houston to Teach at Rice I met about Jack, and saw his eye opening show at Diane David’s Gallery with it’s glowing fields and bent rainbows.
A few years later I got a call from Jack asking if I was interested in forming a Art Department at the University of St Thomas along with Pat Colville.
That is how our Very Good Adventure began.
In a year I was the defacto Department Chair.
Two years later we had the biggest Department on Campus.
Those were glorious years the 1970s filled with hope and possibility.
The fathers gave us the old library building which we turned into studios and gallery space.
Jack’s approach to teaching was quiet and thoughtful balanced by my extremes.
In the mornings we would sit on the front steps greeting the students as they arrived, he with a toothpick stuck in his mouth attempting to quite smoking.
We were not the normal professors. We looked and dressed like our students, just a bit older.
We had a huge gallery and did many outrageous shows… most unattended by the public.
Many were collaborative endeavored. Jack organized the Bosch project. He gridded a large reproduction of Hieronymus Bosch’s famous Garden of Earthly Delights and invited anyone to enlarge a square of it by 6 inches and reproduce their square any way they wished. The results were hung next to the reproduction at the Bosch Bash.
Jack being a packrat probably has many of them somewhere in his achive.
We took our students camping numerous times out in property in Schulenberg to make Art out of what was there and then made a Camping trip exhibit. Sadly we could not do that now.
Jack and I hiked, camped and painted Big Bend numerous times. We made the trip every ten years beginning in 1976. Hiking with full backpacks to the South Rim of the Chisos Mountains we camped for a couple days painting watercolors. Jack’s lightning strike paintings originated on one memorable trip. One experience triggered so many pictures.
The last trip was in 1996. We discovered that we could no longer hike with full backpacks, weighing with water over 60 pounds, so we camped in the Basin and did a day hike.
Once we hiked into Mule Ears Peak and got caught in a deluge, hiked back soaked and naked, dried out our cloths in the car with the heater on. Then discovered the road washed out, covered with rocks, very large rocks and we maneuvered around them or moved them by hand.
So many of his paintings came from those experiences.
Jack began making his Sticks on our first adventure.
We took separate trails down from the South rim, agreeing to meet below Emory Peak. I arrived and sat down to paint. A voice from behind me spoke my name….that spooked the beejeus out of me.
Jack walked out and presented the First stick.
The photo exists. The Sticks became part of Jack’s story. That stick disappeared in the Great Studio Fire.
That’s another story.
When the trail became hot and so tiring that we asked…”are we having fun yet?”
We encouraged each other. Saying “ Just ahead there is heard the sound of laughter and high heels….. AH the sounds of The Mountain Sirens.
When we got off the trail we cleaned up in a motel in Lajitas overlooking the Rio Grande with a golf course. Quite surreal.
I discovered that the room had to be divided. Jack could destroy a room within minutes….everything spread out like in his studio with a small path through his organized mess.
We saw Easy Rider at it’s Houston premier with free tickets courtesy of Pacifica.
We had no idea…and afterwards asked “What did we see?”
We watched each other’s work change.
We wondered what is he doing?
Where is he going with this new work?
The answer was and is always amusement…to try it another way… not to repeat.
Art is Very Serious play.
Art, like life, is too important to be taken seriously. That , by the way is a favorite quote of Bob Camblin, for those who remember.
Jack ran afoul of The Art Gallery World and never understood why. The gallery world is not the artist’s world. It is an unforgiving place. When you are selling, they love you, but change your ideas and the door is closed.
The galleries left Jack or he left them.
Of course his work got better and then got even more better.
The galleries paid no attention. Jack too paid no attention.
When you are older the making, the changing, the extending of your vision is the most important thing.. It is totally selfish.
A visit to Jack’s studio was full of the unexpected. There, emerging, often blending into the clutter, were marvelous things. You never knew where the clutter stopped and the Art began. Jack’s Duhampian world…Surprise.
Perhaps you know of his Nonchalant envelopes, of which he was very proud… carefully crafted, small scale wonders. They will soon appear in a book where the envelopes have no scale and therefore become concentrated images.
Jack and Harvey and Earl went to Frame Warehouse where as children in a candy store bought outrageous frames to further enhance their output. No plain gallery frames for Jack.
Jack did his best work in his last years.
It was difficult for him to explain.
He said “why explain?”
His art described his life.
Buy it if you like…Please.
Jack did it with a smile and a shrug and always the greeting “Cheers”.
So, I too say “Cheers Jack…enjoy your voyage and We will see you later.”

1 comment:

  1. thanks Earl…

    I couldn’t come back for my Dad’s services, but thankfully we worked out all our issues before I left. The rest of my family seems to feel fairly hostile toward me, but not my Dad. As I left my father there was only love left between the two of us.

    I was most heartened to know that you stood & spoke for him.

    bless you
    amy boynton