17

star crossings...spirits

 out there

1997 Tree Limbs, Bamboo and Ink

Resistance to writing  increases the closer I get to putting down the words leading up to the accident and the seeming synchronicity of my friend's brain operation. 

My body is screaming in pain from the tips of my fingers to the ends of my toes. There is such a thing as pain management, I don't even have the energy to go through new doctors!

The new year is less than a week away. Perhaps then. 

Kept working at this new medium of collage/prints utilizing the computer. Felt the best ones incorporated sensuous aluminum or peachy enamel. This free form painting gave the prints a true uniqueness and layered quality that has always been a major component of the 2 dimensional work.

The first group show was in a small gallery in Manhattan on the second floor above store fronts. My brother and the director of the art show almost dropped me while carrying the chair over a very narrow staircase. I did not feel comfortable at all being in this kind of situation.

In general the work looked okay; a few nude sketches were sold that evening. The woman had just studied from live models, tore her work from sketch books, tacked it up and sold. 

Everyone is an artist, everyone wants shows and everyone wants fame.

Fortunately there was an excellent French restaurant across the street; felt like a bistro in Paris.

Two exhibition openings within two weeks was a lot for me. Perhaps if there had been more professionalism I would have been fortified instead of demoralized. Is this a definite need for masochistic actions or am I still childlike in anticipating only the best? Hopefully it is the latter.

Williamsburg would be the next stop for the collages. An old bank building smelled, creaked and exuded the past history. Some parts of the edifice were inaccessible; the concurrent show of young Italians was upstairs. Spoke briefly with a red haired man in Italian in regards to the work invisible yet yards away.

Some looked away from us, we were definitely noticeable in our varied disabilities. I used my walker to view the stuffed animals, early twentieth or late nineteenth century artifacts from the sites' heydays.

A snakeskin in a large ceramic bowl caught my eye. 

1991 Hands, North Adams 

photo Stacy Pearl

Costs of sports car, insurance, rents, computer lease, utilities, etc. became overwhelming now that I canceled the agency retainer with The First National Bank of Long Island. We had a good business relationship for ten years but it now became too confining for me. Teaching was taking a lot of 'extra time' with the benefit of a secure bimonthly check as an added incentive. 

Decided to reduce my overhead by moving out of the Glen Cove space settling into a home office. Chuck painted the basement a bright white, an electrician put in decent lighting and voila - home/office alone. No assistants or secretary.

Doug Trump recommended me to a gallery that he was exhibiting at: Ambassador Galleries in Soho. Their young curator liked my prints and offered to put me in a large group show. The gallery usually exhibited very commercial figurative and landscape works. Definitely not my genre. They were trying a new tactic. I hoped for the best; they took several pieces to their framers. I felt official again.

Gold Plate (1992) is made of scraps of metal printing plates, wire, nails and wood. The nature of an hydraulic press allows the use of sharp parts heretofore forbidden in the conservative printing scenarios. Exhibited this as a finished piece; sprayed and dabbed with raw pigment it became an object separate from it's primary or original role.

Met a very handsome European art restorer at a deli on Spring Street. We went out for dinner and had fun conversing about things aesthetic. Felt that relationship too scary and ran like hell. 

The gallery opening was great fun; friends from LI went to a local Spring Street restaurant together and it felt like old times. Didn't sell a thing. A quick ending to my relationship with that gallery. They were showing Jerry Garcia ties shortly thereafter.

Peter Speranza made me an offer that I felt I couldn't refuse. He'd pay for the lease on my computer set up if I brought it to his office on the main street in town. A mere six blocks away; I would use it during off hours.

Once there it was an uncomfortable situation; did not seem like my work station...it wasn't. Made the best of it working until the wee hours and weekends. Teaching during the day took a great deal of daylight hours any way.

A notice regarding an open call for designers and architects came to my attention. The park near the Science Museum in Houston needed refurbishing; it sounded like a fun project. Joe Lotti worked with an architect in the shared office space and seemed the likely suspect for this design proposal. Wayne Ehmann, architect, would act as an advisor.

I put off that project while I attended another session in North Adams. Wanted to stretch some more. While lying on a hill top, watching the ants, smelling the grass an idea came to me. Series of plates from A-Z, beginning with pre-dawn (A) up to the imagined future (Z).

Creating a fire in the back woods behind the mill; I danced and meditated on the first plate. Residual pieces of charcoal from the burn looked like the perfect material to begin with.

I made a small relief from slate and charcoal for Joe (now Mario) in the bowels of the mill. Certain areas of the bottom floor were rarely used, they need a lot of cleaning. No one bothered me there; Martin (a partner in the school) would occasionally come down to chip away at stone. Played music and fell into a self-imposed solitude. 

Letter A (1992) was completed with some help from Mario. I had invited him up to help me. Now I was really outside the circle.

Before completing the plate as a unit onto itself, I used it to make a large print. It looked weak, the charcoal made great impressions as did the slate, but no real guts.

Mario and I worked on it back at my Sea Cliff studio. I found a definition and image that eerily suited the image while rummaging through an early twentieth century dictionary! Archaeopteryx (1992).

The definition became the direct image for a print on vellum; the explanation/source/mystery/connection that I was searching for. Definition of Archaeopteryx (1992).

We were planning to exhibit this project as a collaborative effort in a large Glen Cove space. Local stuff, but a chance to show the grouping from this 'first' letter nonetheless. I wouldn't have completed the framing and presentation without his help. The result, however, was a lackluster reception. Press was positive and brief.

Our collaboration in Houston met with disastrous results. Misread some of the rules and madly finished the project hours before deadline. We drove to the airport in the dark to ship with an overnight carrier.

  

Ancillary playthings kept me from focusing on the simplicity that was the choice of the winning selection. Our ideas would have been way over budget. For instance, a fountain model that I fooled around with based on the lone star image was beyond my capabilities of water structures. Star (1992).

By the end of the year I had had enough of collaborative efforts and began working solo. Bill started calling again.

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