Saturday, January 24, 2015

2 paintings at the i.d.e.a. museum

I dropped off two paintings at Craters & Freighters (who are awesome by the way) to ship out to Mesa, Arizona for the i.d.e.a. Museum's upcoming exhibition "Build It". The paintings will be included as part of the official guided tour of the exhibition. The museum asked me to send a little more information about the paintings for the tour guides to reference in talking about the work. So I thought I'd share that here.

"Under The Bridge" was a painting I originally did some 6 years ago but I reworked it it ever so slightly up for inclusion in this exhibition.
"Under the Bridge"  2008-2014  oil on canvas  51" x 33"
I've always liked the undersides of bridges despite their propensity to attract dirty blankets and empty bottles, the detritus of homelessness.  There is something discrete and private about being under a bridge which is no doubt what attracts the homeless in the first place. In fairy tales trolls are said to live under bridges. To live somewhere is for it be a home, the opposite of homelessness. The St. Johns bridge in Portland, which is the basis for this painting is unusual. It's not really a hidden place at all. There's nowhere for the homeless to secretly huddle, no place for a to troll to live. There's a little road that goes under it right up against a low wall. But what's behind that wall? I couldn't help picturing it with a low door and window, and an inviting porch light, something to make the underside of the bridge a little more homey.

"Hovel"  2012  oil on canvas 34" x 50"
"Hovel" was the first painting I completed at a residency program called Playa in Summer Lake, Oregon. It was my first residency and I was anxious to get to work right away but I had no idea what to paint or how to absorb the environment I found myself in. On the property there was a root cellar just as you see in the painting only the landscape around it was wide open high desert ranch land. I was used to painting scenes set in forests. I wasn't ready to tackle all that empty space so I relocated the root cellar to the woods and in my mind imagined it as a home, a refuge for some monk-like character in a story out of Grimm. Or perhaps just a place to be left alone to work (like the residency itself).

I'd rather be alone in an isolated cabin than with many people in a mansion. Of course. I'm an introvert. But the appeal of small secret hidden homes goes beyond that. It is an artifact of childhood perhaps. What young boy does not desire a tree house to call his own, or imagine discovering a cave in which to hide out? Such places represent not only secrecy and safety, but independence from the world of adults, the world of responsibility. As such they are not just retreats but access points to adventure, to exploration and discovery. As an adult exploration and adventure exist for me more internally than externally, and so such places are powerful metaphors for my desire to go ever deeper into my own imaginings and intellectual curiosity.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Biennial at Turtle Bay

So I got back on Monday from delivering my big painting "Burn" to Redding, CA. It will be in the Turtle Bay Exploration Park Museum's "West Coast Biennial". I had to take out all the seats in our minivan including the front passenger, which meant unscrewing it from the floor and disconnecting the electrical sensors for the passenger airbag and seat belt light. With that done the painting just barely fit, with about 1 inch of wiggle room. 8 hours later I was checking into a Motel 6.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the museum itself but the place is pretty cool. It's an odd mishmash museum covering science, nature, history, and oh yeah... art. They have a smallish aquarium, a large arboretum, some outdoor aviaries, displays of native American history, Logging History and so on. At the time there was also a special exhibition about Candy. Totally random.

"Sweets - A Tasty Journey" Jan. 17 - May 13, 2015
This is their third Biennial. I'm especially honored to be included since the judge for this is Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, the curator of Northwest Art at the Portland Art Museum. Doesn't hurt to get your work in front of people like that. Thank you Bonnie!

The museum will be sending shots of the show once it is all hung and I'll share those here when I get them.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Busy New Year

2015 has started off fairly busily.
My painting "Truffula Seed" comes down this week from Art Convergence 2014
at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center in Washington.

Coming up I'll have two pieces ("Under The Bridge" and "Hovel") on display at
The Idea Museum, in Mesa AZ.
from February 13 to May 24, 2015
for their special exhibit "Build It".
They contacted me out of the blue as they say, which was very flattering.

Also my big piece, "Burn" will be on display at
The West Coast Biennial of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding CA
from January 30 to May 3, 2015

"Burn (cascade creek fire, Mt. Adams WA 2012)  48" x 114"  2013

In February I'll be heading out to Boardman Oregon for a tour of the coal fired power plant there, the last of its kind in the state. I'll collect reference material for another large painting on the scale of "Burn" as part of my ongoing visual essay on the deep connections between human beings and fire and its impact on the environment.