When designer and RISD colleague Patrick J. Hamilton requested art works to be offered for his vignette for Design on a Dime’s Housing Works Benefit Auction, which assists in housing people with HIV/AIDS in New York City, I was compelled to create a unique work of art. The piece (below) will be installed at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea 125 W 18th Street (between Avenue of The Americas & 7th Ave), in New York City, (April 26–28th).
When Patrick described the color and character of his possible installation, I began thinking of saturated crimsons, magnanimous magentas, hot and fleshy pinks, siennas, creams, controlled dove greys and misty charcoals—colors which ’til now I’d rarely used, at least in such quantities, and I became excited by the possibilities for the project. I had also read an article Mr. Hamilton had recently written about performer Madonna’s impact on him personally, for the LGBT community, and for an entire generation. Always up for a challenge, I began work on what would become the start of a new series: Chaucer’s ‘Madonna,’ Lady of Bath.
In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the Lady of Bath character is arguably among the most interesting; provocative, a probable vocal reformer of her time and challenger of social mores, she represents what a few performing women artists today represent in our culture. So as I read about the ‘gap-toothed,’ outspoken medieval game-changer, her robes, ways and words challenging the complacency, stigmas, and social phobias of her time, I began to think more and more of the role such women artists play in today’s world. What do their circumstances prevent and/or provide? How can their art help heal and bring our culture’s murky shadows to titillating light? How can I, “express myself”?
New Painting Goes To NYC Auction For Housing Works
Today I went downtown to see and support an old RISD colleague, Nicole Eisenman, as she spoke about her work at the Denver Art Museum. For me it was somewhat of a time traveling experience. I felt as if I were sitting in a crit room, only this time, instead of listening to her speak about a body of work built over a year of exploration and effort, Nicole spoke about bodies of work which spanned decades . It was great to catch up in the brief time we had before and especially after her presentation, and it was good to see her and her work and to talk about “pushing paint around on canvas to see what it can do”. Nicole’s work, however, moves well beyond that and offers a challenging and humorous peek, often through an art historical lens and definitely through the experience of a woman working with issues of feminine identity in New York, at our culture and times. Check out the DAM and recent works including Nicole’s at:
I came back to the studio ready to paint and reflect on the distance I’ve come, figuratively speaking, in my work since moving from New York.
Since New York I’ve been creating paintings I want people to feel drawn or compelled to walk into, almost like an open stage set. One should feel engulfed. In this way, the viewer should, in essence, become the subject within the painting. These ‘places’ are first scenes my unconscious mind creates, both on a visceral level while painting, as well as in the hypnagogic state just before sleep. Though, I must submit that, as Nicole said today, “It is painting itself , isn’t it, which compels you to do it”.