Friday, August 31, 2007

definitely something ...

there's something in the air, in the land, in the 'soul' and soil of this area where i live - situated halfway between philly and nyc, a few hundred feet from the delaware river, on the hillsides of glacial cud, abundant vegetation and wildlife, with only a ''recent' recorded history, still ancient in its ever-present changing - there's something... i've been to more beautiful places (according to my aesthetic) - places where man made history superimposes its dominance over the land or water, or where the geological attributes mesmerize - here, it is a much more subtle continuum... like a steve reich or phil glass (even john cage) performance - gradual rhythms of change. brice marden did his 'cold mountain' series up the road from here - a series (and its derivatives) i've seen quite a few times and have gradually come to appreciate. only recently have i noticed some 'cross talk' influences appearing in my own work - maybe that's a reach or maybe he's pixelizing what i'm generalizing. more thoughts on that to come. i'll attach an image of 'still water' - another 7' x 9' painting from my recent escapades of summer work...

an old friend and mentor visited the studio today - james carroll - the founder of 'nap' the new arts program. haven't seen him in years (and years...) - i have a problem with losing time and contact, but with some people it really doesn't matter - we just pick up where we left off. james began an educational program at kutztown university in 1974 where 'working' artists from nyc and the likes would come to rural pa for a few days to present their ideas and consult with like-minded indidviduals. as it turned out there weren't a lot of students that either took an interest or that were serious enough to engage with the likes of phil glass, steve reich, john cage, richard serra, keith haring, brice marden, dorthea rockburne, mel bochner, david rabinowitch, et al... for the hand full that were interested it was sublime. our work and love of art evolved to an 'informed' understanding of what was contemporary. that hand full is still out there making art today. thank you james! (good times but a bad photo at the studio)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

electric disconnect...

still puzzling over the final of five large-scale works i've done this summer. this one: 'body electric' is 7'H x 9'W - comprised of four panels. what you see is an amalgamation of portions of at least fifty veils of paint on surfaces dating back to the mid 90's. inspired by whitman and ideas of 'soul', it meanders through four very distinct/different/similar stages of painting and development over the the past decade +. i'm considering this one of my best but it seems to meet with a lot of quizzical stares. for as long as the 'language of abstraction' has been around i'm still surprised by the 'disconnect' among viewers. Below is a detail.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

'w' is for ...

more of the same - not quite - thinner veils of fog, less muted, waning moon, wednesday weariness, wariness, political/human misbehavior, winning the 'war on terrorism', 12m$ trust fund for a dog, resignations, and the city of brotherly love is going to release a rap song in an effort to promote non violence in philly. why didn't i think of that?

this 200 year old barn i'm living/working in had vestiges of previous activities everywhere. evidently the wife of the farmer was an accomplished lithographer and left about a half dozen stencil cutting boards lying around. no recognizable image was apparent but the boards have thousands of cutting scars. i managed to resurrect some of the surface by sanding, burnishing, and staining. the result is a labyrinth of meandering lines whose paths go on forever (and would continue to go on given the nature of the aging and weather-beaten wood [as labyrinths go]). so i applied a thick coat of amber resin (spoke of yesterday) to create a stasis on one of the boards. maybe that's part of what all painting or art is? only did it to one board because i'm not sure about my own imposition.
i keep thinking about the japanese word (and school of printmaking) called ukiyo-e: 'pictures of the fleeting and transient world'.
saw clips of sidney pollack's doc on frank gehry again yesterday and i'm still chewing on frank's comment: "i'm hoping, that out of democracy comes an expression that is...the consensus is democracy - does that express itself? it expresses itself chaotically! ...and that chaos, we're starting to feel is beautiful." [sony pictures,2006]
more to say on that later, but 'chaos' has its implications - 'deciphering simultaneity' and 'negotiating difference' are more in line with my sensibilities.
speaking of sony pictures, i was contacted last week about having one of my newport jazz posters on the set of the up-coming 'canterbury's law'. i wonder if shakespeare would approve?
the song in my head this morning: leonard cohen's 'waiting for a miracle'.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

delaware flood ...

hard to imagine that only a few years ago that the 'river' was breaking her banks at the raubsville tavern here in pa. ironically, the tavern boasted new orleans cuisine and mardi gras atmosphere. today the river is about 30' below what it appears in this photo and the landmark tavern is closed.

amber static...

full moon - thick morning fog - the first indication we are ripe for autumn - sounds are muffled and objects muted by the thick, wet atmosphere - this could be anywhere - reminding me of everywhere - the maritime in venice, ca - waking the birds along the lehigh - the pueblo at acoma - my first walk along the seine and st. michele - the alleys of sevilla - the ferry in dunoon - the hillside cemetery where i bid my father farewell - but i'm here - a few hundred yards from the delaware which was breaking her banks almost two years ago to the day - still here doing what i do every day - painting, learning, and service - moving forward...
i recall a story that i heard about jorge borges as he knelt down in the sahara to allow sand pass through his hand - he said he 'modified eternity'.
also, a comment from 'another'; tolerance is indifference to difference...
for some reason i want to mix a batch of translucent amber to see how many different ways it could be applied to objects and surfaces - and how it modifies them.

Monday, August 27, 2007


kids are going back to school - what an exciting time for the future leaders of the world. 'inherit the ...' earth, wind, fire, ... (you fill it in). full moon coming up tonight and a beautiful carmel colored dawn here in eastern PA. not bad weather for the end of august and the two year anniversary of the Katrina debacle. not to mention all the success stories associated with the 'acquisition of Iraq'. i still wonder if anyone is talking about what was ruined or lost within the first few weeks of the 'liberation campaign' regarding contents of libraries, art, and antiquities??? in Jacob Bronowski's 'ascent of man', he regarded this location as the birthplace of civilization. mine was the 'heights' in bethlehem which morphed from a working class neighborhood for the steel company, to the location for some blast furnace, to an abandoned field, to an upcoming casino resort location. who would have thunk - and who still isn't thinking? debacle or debauchery - which shall we use for the word of the day...
enough a.m. rambling, time to paint (...with the wisdom to know the difference).

Sunday, August 26, 2007

one byte...

heard that an interesting program is due to air on wednesday at 7 pm. good friend and musician - Michael Stephans is going to do a live broadcast with Dave Liebman. i love michael's approach to percussion - now i can't wait to hear the serendipity that occurs with his poetry and dave's genius.

check out 'OM/SHALOM'

words and images...

my day usually begins with meditation, a good cup of coffee and a flow of words and images until my brain shifts into daily routines and responsibilities. this morning goes something like this:
Zen for Primates

let the 'games' begin. i always wonder how these word flows impact or perhaps define the day.
hopefully I'll see you on the other end.

Friday, August 24, 2007

more warriors...

finished watching cnn's documentary last night about God's Warriors. thought provoking? yes. sufficiently in-depth with regard to world dynamic and social change? no! i find it hard to believe that Judaism, Islam, and Christianity attempt a morale high-ground while passively condoning the rise of extremist sects within their denominations. that kind of passive empowerment seems like some sort of manipulation geared to allow fear to fester among other factions. unless, like they said - moderates don't make the news. it still reminds me of a team allowing a few demented and steroid aggressive thugs to remain on your football team because they make the plays you need them to and they intimidate the hell out of your opponents. even though their behavior might be publicly denounced they're still allowed to remain on the team. in using that analogy, i find it interesting how acceptance of behavior evolves in our kulture. it disturbs me how the line is being blurred between religion, government, and law. but hey, what'd we xpect cowboy?