Friday, July 30, 2010

A Surprise from the Past

Many pictures have been rolled for 20+ years. The job is to unroll and re-catalog them. This is a BIG job. The storage space is  climate controlled but is very warm and one can only do  maybe 2 hours in the morning. There is no hurry. Most that are uncovered are recognized. This week he discovered pictures that were forgotten and lost . Three I968 pointillist pictures from a minimalist Tree/Landscape series were a real surprise.

The others  from this series  are buried under many other images; they can be known by the canvas size.  The real surprise is an unstretched painting from the 1974-75 Art History series. The Professor had just begun teaching  a survey of Art History class at the University of St. Thomas and did a series of Art history inspired paintings. Some of the series survives in one form or another. This one he called Navajo was a real surprise; it went on MM’s wall that day.

There is new work in the studio.

These have already changed. No work today, breakfast with the group and  busy work in the heat/humidity of Houston. Tomorrow with his daughter Chrissy to pick up Grandson Tavo from a week with his father.
 Here are three others unrolled/revealed from the past: Orestes, The Crossing and Cupid and Psyche.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Recent Events

The Professor is back at work. Here is his first painting in his borrowed studio.
Seeded Land 18x24
Then he started on another.

In 1972 the Professor was teaching at The University of St Thomas, Houston, Texas.
For an exhibition in the gallery called Camp Out. He made these Fu Dogs which were part of a his Art History Series. They are made out of Cedar logs collected on an Art Department camping trip in Flatonia, Texas. He wrapped them in cotton and held it together with barbed wire, then coated it with coat after coat of acrylic medium then painted then in pink and turquoise and finished them off with Christmas lights.
 Fu Dogs 1972

They languished in storage until he dragged them out and restored them hoping to exhibit them. Alas no. So they were abandoned until he thought maybe they could spend their last day gently decaying in MM's garden. Here they are, without the lights.
When he brought his collected work from Santa Fe he was fortunate to find storage in a climate controlled empty office building. His work has never been in a controlled atmosphere. Now he is opening rolls of rolled canvases. Most have not been touched for 20 years. The process is to open a roll, photo the contents and re roll around a cardboard tube. Some do not stand-up and will be culled.

 The Bridge 1975  5' x 12'

Expulsion 1987

The Crossing 1986 
Orestes 1986

Europa Series 1981
And then a few Culls

The end of the road for these.
Many more to go.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Studio ON Borrowed Time

The Professor is borrowing MM's studio for 6 weeks.First it had to be cleaned up. Note the Dick Wray in the lower right.

A two day endeavor that caused MM much stress, but treasures were found and everything found it's place. Now he is ready to get back to doing what he enjoys. New work will appear shortly.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

“What are your plans for the summer?”
The summer session is over and he is at MM’s. She has agreed to lend him her studio for 6 weeks, two of which she will not be here. This is a big occasion. This is her studio that she built for herself and now she is letting him use it. In six weeks He will be back in Tomball.  It is all a delicate balance.
Delicate Balance 36x12

"Since I have no space in which to work, her space is to be my space for a while.
Lots of art shows in Houston in the heat of the summer. Most banal. But at Wade Wilson’s there is Harold Garde . Raw figurative expressionist works of the school of painting that is forever old and forever young. Unpretentious and seemingly effortless these works refuse to decorate. They proclaim their deep raw love of art and humanity. At the Art Car Museum there is the work of Barbara Jones a Houston painter who I knew nothing about. She recently died leaving a body of work that proclaim the joy she found in her private life, her Houston neighborhood and her friends. Richly painted with no attempt at “art smart”  the paintings tell of joy in her life and also the sadness of loss and injustices. A talent now silenced that got little exposure; I only guess that that is how she wanted it. The energy it takes to self promote takes away from the creating time. I heard an artist once say that you have to spend has much of your time on business as on creation.
Talk Self Promote Talk Self Promote Talk Self Promote
 In HIGH ACADEMIA the word play goes on. Like a dog chasing it's tail. On line I discovered an artist whose thing was to question what is art. EXCUSE me but did not Duchamp do that a 100 years ago and we got it  and kept making paintings. One of  artist's acts was to have a crane  lower a junked car into Central Park, that's in NY you know. That's something at which to marvel. Context is everything; do not try that in East Texas.
I went to more galleries where the work was let’s say undeveloped or derivative or all looked alike and was the same size. One exhibition was of a ex student of mine He only took one class and moved on, but I liked him. A smart ass who did every thing I asked as outrageously as possible, but he came to every class and that got my attention. I saw him as I was 50 years ago and I discovered we share a birthday. Now he has a graduate degree and is doing work that young people do. I trust he will improve. Too much causal photo stuff right now, but they have a dark beauty.
I visited an art gallery owner who had looked at  my work and said that we would do some kind of show. Now I got the run around..."well I don't know, I can't say, I have things scheduled for  9 months"...yes I understand just say yes of no..instead of I have to think about it.
I will keep doing what I enjoy and you can Think about that."
Two Islands 16x20

Friday, July 16, 2010

A long romance

Self Portrait 1979
Tell us about this painting?
The Professor told the story. "I spent the winter of 1979 at a private guest ranch in San Gabriel, Etla, Oaxaca,Mexico. I went there often in the 70s. It was about 20 miles north of the city perched up in the mountains with a spectacular view across the valley. I painted many pictures there. This painting is of me looking at myself in a mirror with kerosene lights creating shadows. It was in a gallery exhibition in Houston. I never thought it would be sold: it is too large and dark and mysterious and personal.  Mary Margaret saw it at the exhibition and remembered it. A year later she went back and bought it. I knew she was a photographer, but had only known her socially . I had to meet this woman who would buy such a painting. There were  brief and passionate meetings with wonderful conversations.
 My wife and I went to Europe for 4 years. Other shows followed and a year in New York.
 Another brief and passionate encounter occurred. Then 20 years of no contact.
Now we are together.  My paintings continue our story.

Here is wall of new works.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The change

They asked the Professor about the changes in his life. They saw his work changing along with his person. He answered, “A few years ago my wife and I began to spend a summer month in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I began to paint from that landscape. It was good.  We then bought a small condominium and spent vacations and the summers there. There was really no room for me to work. Arguments ensued. We then decided to sell the condo and find a permanent house in which to live. We moved into a beautiful home with a studio space on the first level. I stayed teaching to pay bills and until our Houston properties sold. I commuted as often as possible. After 2 years my work began to move away from the tight photo based realism of the past 12 years. I soon realized that I was one person in Houston and a different person in Santa Fe. I liked who I was in Houston and could not be that person in Santa Fe. I tried very hard to be what was expected, but it was never enough. It felt like I was always walking on eggs. My inner voice told me that I had done all I could do with my present style and I should go back and search my roots and uncovered what I had hidden for 12 years. When I evolved into myself 40 years ago I used symbols/myths/archetypes which spoke to me of death and regeneration and it was to those sources I returned: skulls, shamen, Indians, cactus, palm trees, lovers. The waterfalls, trout streams, and mountains that I had been painting abstracted themselves. My unconscious was released and I knew that I was entering a new dimension and I did not know where it would take me.

Skull Composition 6 24x30 acrylic/mixed medium

Skull Composition 12 18x24 acrylic on paper

Shaman 1 24x36 acrylic/mixed medium

Shaman 3 36x24 acrylic/glitter

Shaman 1 11x9 WC

Shaman 2 11x9

Balancing 28x32 1975-2008 acrylic

The Force 5 48x36 2008 acrylic/glitter

The Force 3 30x40 acrylic/mixed medium 2008

The Force 4- the Waterfall  48x63 acrylic 2008

Lovers 36x24 acrylic/glitter 2008

Lovers with Waterfall 48x60 acrylic 2008

The pressure was on for me to retire, but I did not want to retire. I really like what I am doing and how I live in Texas; it occurred to me that if I did retire to Santa Fe I was going to DIE, a beautiful place with for me an unhealthy psychological environment . Thankfully the economy collapsed when I was offered a retirement deal and I stayed teaching to pay the bills. My paintings flowed from me as never before. I realized that I was telling my story overtly again; for twelve years I placed myself in an cage with the excuse that I was teaching myself to paint in an realistic manner and I did. I also knew I was sending out signals. I had a show in Houston of new work where I was by myself and I felt so very free.
Waterfall and Rockslide 30x40 acrylic 2008

Thunderstorm 2  24x30 acrylic 2008

Along the Rio Grand 36x48 acrylic 2008                                

I attended a benefit for an alternative art space that honored my breakfast group of artist friends and I saw Mary Margaret for the first time in 20 years; we talked, we exchanged cards and began. One year later I told my wife that I was in love with Mary Margaret and I wanted a divorce. This is an act of self preservation. It has caused great pain for which I am sorry. I am an artist, it is a selfish profession. I will not sacrifice myself to the so called social demands of our society. Many times I heard “if you do not want to be married you do not have to”. Or “if you do not like it you know what you can do about it.”

Big Rock Candy Mountain 48x60 acrylic 2009

Yummy Place 22x28 acrylic 2009

New Land 36x48 acrylic 2010

La Lunasea 20x24 acrylic 2010

Marshmellow Range 30x40 acrylic 2010

Island Shelter 30x20 acrylic 2010

I am happily in love with a woman with whom I can actually have a conversation, who likes my work, and with whom I can laugh and celebrate. My work and my life are filled with joy. bring it on!"