1990 Birthday Rose, Poster
It's sunset and rays cut through the passageway between the two houses. Light awakens spots of brilliant green, on cascading leaves and orange, on the bark of gnarled limbs of the treasured tree. I smile.
Took a two day hiatus with my sister and family to the Keys. Staying in a motel was pleasurable!!! The first time sleeping outside of an institution in ten months. We ate seafood in one of those fashionable shacks and played with a manatee down by the shore. Wouldn't wear a bathing suit or go in the pool.
A friend of my Brooklyn cousins was ordered to take me out for dinner. He was some kind of salesman and used the opportunity to do all the talking. His idea was to get take out from a Chinese restaurant.
While he was inside I toyed with using the gun that sat between the driver's and passenger's seats. On certain occasions I had wished for one.
Now that my wish was granted I don't believe I could even take it out of its holster! Or fire it.
June and time to return back to Long Island. There was going to be a fund raiser at the yacht club. My parents offered me a place in their home.
Finally after 13 months I would be out of institutions. What freedom. The sounds of chirping birds and my favorite tree.
Friends and family came up with a clever and loving tribute to raise money for my rehabilitation. Artists donated work and a dinner ticket included an art work to go with it. A client, The First National Bank of Long Island, underwrote the cost of food and the club.
There was a poster of 'Birthday Rose' for sale also. An especially poignant choice; a rose bloomed in my garden on the second of December on my fiftieth birthday. The most beautiful I had ever grown. I painted it as a present to myself.
I was nervous; two days after returning to Long Island and faced with seeing people I hadn't seen since before or right after my accident. My children were proud of me. That was so important.
It was a huge success; the generosity of everyone will always be remembered.
Coat and Pomegranate
photo by Charles Vi Vona
|columbia Street had a lot to offer. My favorite was
a two storefront shop filled with new and not so new fabrics. All the flowered upholstery
of the forties, gingham's and cottons with petite designs so familiar yet impossible to
A John's Bargain Store, supermarket, used furniture stores, Spanish bodega, Italian produce, and bars with boarded up buildings interspersed throughout until we reached the piers and Atlantic Avenue. It was simultaneously safe and dangerous. Sailors from the docked ships would get mugged periodically. They would get drunk and wander too far from port; such easy marks.
On Atlantic Avenue there were Near East restaurants and shops. I learned to eat and make pita, cous cous, babaganouch and hummus. We only window shopped in The Heights; I did enjoy looking at the brownstones and village-like stores on Montague.
Most of the time was spent working in the studio/shop. I began combining words, lights and plastic. Constructive poetry. Friends bought all of them. They were VERY reasonable ($25).
Lazy Sea Makes Hushed Men Loud (1967) is part of that series. Christmas tree lights inside the box would flash randomly changing colors and reflections.
Music was an integral part of our lives. Eddie knew a lot of guitarists, singers, drummers and a trumpet player. They'd come to our space to rehearse and hang out. Rock and blues was the usual fare.
Kinetic light works lend themselves to sounds and projected imagery. Our friends performed at the Dom and Electric Circus as it was later called. The East Village was quite hot. The Fillmore East was too expensive for us, but I did attend a Black Panther rally.
The protests on campuses and down South were of great importance to us. We never marched but used the themes of integration and students' rights as part of work and daily intercourse.
I tired to the blinking lights; they seemed quite juvenile in comparison to works like Chryssa and Stephen Antonakis.
The first totally non-objective plastic piece was Water Music (1967).
Sunlight in the afternoon would filter through its vibrant colors and bounce around the walls as the day progressed into evening. There wasn't a single tall building in front of us from waterfront to windows! Living above the tunnel had that advantage; we learned to live with the fumes and traffic sounds.
Fabrication of these pieces was elaborate and time consuming. Free forms were cut with a saber saw, straight edges with a table saw, resin for layers and some adhesion, and the oven for bending. Buffing, sanding and polishing with 3 grades of paper and rouge. I used a wheel and flat sander. Hair and clothes were always covered with some kind of debris.
A Cloud Passed Over (1967) was used in trade for much needed dental work. It was the most I had made for a work of art up till then. The piece was totally solid in design and fabrication.
Eddie was working with figures and light boxes. He was showing in major galleries: Howard Wise and Allan Stone. Allan traded his art work for a Chrysler New Yorker station wagon...the largest dual exhaust system on the road. It was a large price to pay for when the muffler deteriorated.
Our work always seemed to run parallel except for his erotic art phases! It really wasn't something I felt appropriate...Egon Schiele or not.
This was a time of long working days without a great deal of "going out." We had friends to visit with and didn't go the theatres or movies. Didn't mind, art galleries and parties were more eventful.
We had two definite circles of artistic styles to play in. One friend, Luis Jimenez ,was becoming quite successful with his fiberglass sculptures and large pencil drawings. Definitely figurative. The other with John Van Saun, as unspoken leader, was electronic/light/kinetic. Lest I forget the performance/happening/dance circle?
We'd jump back and forth daily between drawing from life Larimer, and fabricating ideas in highly technological mediums. It seemed the natural evolution of ideas to reality.
Again being a mother introduced me to the social scenes of other mothers/parents. In the early sixties Daddies did not spend day time with their young progeny...they had more important work to do...that was the theory invalid or not. The car gave us the opportunity to drive into Manhattan at a moment's notice. Parking there was another matter; downtown was easy and uptown difficult. Tickets on the windshield were immediately thrown into the trash.
We always had something to do or somewhere to go without spending money. Oh a bottle of wine was the max.