Every Picture Tells A Story

In late June 2013 I had a solo show in a great DIY Gallery in Northwest Washington D.C. It included large work done during 2010 through 2013. There were two new pieces (click bar below) which I feel allow the viewer to see the trajectory of my recent work. Check out some shots of the gallery – here, here, and here. In designing the show I prepared for 4 consecutive openings. On each night I featured cutting edge musicians from D.C. to add an element to the event. I also created a conceptual piece called “Cicadas” which we did each night.


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The Show

Once upon a time there was a man named Elvis. Were he to be alive today he would be just another rockabilly wannabe kicking around Memphis. The odds of recognition become exponentially impossible every day. Therefore when three people in a room have heard of the same thing, it’s quite an accomplishment, no matter why it happens. For no apparent reason there hasn’t been any information about this artist found here – until now. Luckily I have Seanie Blue as a buddy. He helped whip up this handy dandy Electronic Press Kit which is a gentle push of my craft away from the dock.


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I Am Myself

I have grown to think abstract expressionist painters don’t like explaining their work because they are in a very real way self-portraits. So to explain the painting is to lie down on the couch and deconstruct the personal id. “Why should I?,” the artist says. You need to bring your own perceptions and realizations and add them to the work. With this in mind, I can only add my personal reflection, which is each image stays alive forever. That every moment, every day, every year you return to the picture it adds new meaning.


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Life is…

There is one thing that unites all visual artists, primarily painters and sculptures -  it is the inability for two dimensional digital images to capture the essence of their work. The richness, tone, nuance, and dimensionality are somewhat lost on the screen. Every painter cringes when having to rely on the jpeg version of a piece they have been conceiving and laboring over after they reach some sort of inner satisfaction of completeness. To paint is to pull inward, drawing up the influences and tangential experiences that represent the action. The process itself pushes outward, expelling the energy and leaving the resulting residue in its finality. The cause of the push and pull is the sum of all the literature known to mankind. It is birth and death. It may be neither good nor bad to the individual. In the end it can only be an appreciation.




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Summer Paintings

Dear Reader, I’d like to introduce you to some of the painters who have influenced my work. You see, whenever someone sees any sort of splash of paint, invariably they only relate to Jackson Pollack, who did throw a lot of pigment around, but he had a very purposeful reason for how and why he constructed his work. While I enjoy a good Pollack, his wife Lee Krasner has provided me with much more inspiration. I would say my favorite painter would be Joan Mitchell who was loath to explain her work and chose to have the viewer decide for themselves what the picture meant. There are many wonderful painters of abstract expressionism, but to me it remains about the paint itself. How can I express what I feel using liquid colors.


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Ricki’s Thirteen

A batch of paintings made for a recent show. These were done in the Spring of 2010 and I am really quite happy with how they turned out. Many are still available if you happen upon this and would like one, reach out to me. Thanks to all the well wishers and continued support.


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As A Child, As A Man

It’s been 20 years since I built my first stretcher and started to express myself in creative terms. Throughout the spring and summer of 2009 I had been meeting new strangers who enjoy the work. The continuing affirmation was inspiring. These smaller pieces on paper were made for an artists call for submission. They are part of a series that started in 1999. Even with a hectic lifestyle I still remain committed to this work and the enjoyment of discovery.

 

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Winter Of Contentedness

After a long season of compression leading up to the finish line, a huge sigh of relief on the outcome and change of direction. The reality is in the details, and the sign of any good judgment is, both sides feel robbed – but having an adult discourse is unusually comforting. Follow the kids, they are what’s happening and could care less about rigidity and conformism. The energy unleashed can power the seismic paradigm shift that will make the last few decades look like the Century before it in terms of new ideas. So I keep creating for my fans and not for breakthroughs (maybe stick one of my pictures in a bucket of formaldehyde?) Building a little momentum here;

 

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Touchstone Show

The fall of 08 had a show of my new work from the summer. Some pictures were related to my travels, but the larger pieces spoke to the emotions floating around during the time they were created. There was a lot of image flinging leading up to a November playoff and it couldn’t help but influence what I was doing. Knowing I had a show to prepare, I was also keeping within the questions and answers that normally define what I am aiming to see. One day a long time from now I can look back.

 

touchstone

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don’t crush that dwarf

Our crew in school was always real tight. Still are. We weren’t normal that’s for sure. I got into a jag with a cat once about whether those experiences were really worth it when it’s all said and done. I guess some people had trouble keeping their wig on, so it might have been trouble for them. For us, it was an open world which we freely took advantage of. Not in a material way, but we left plenty of baggage lying around. First Yosarian’s, then Capt. Flume’s, and the mighty Plum Creek. I can’t imagine today how industrious we were then. We probably carried a ton of supplies five miles into the forest. It really was a marvel to behold as they say.

 

 

It’s all in a day

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you news, you snooze

“When you’re painting, you have a central thought that pulls in various kinds of details, and that’s the way you make a painting. You go in a direction, and you gather up whatever you need to move that way. It’s not necessarily that you have planned to make a picture like this. It’s not ‘Well, now let’s say something about myself.’ You’re saying, ‘Now let me make another painting.’ (wanting the work to be about myself) one realizes that it’s a failure, that effort. It produces something, it’s an attitude which allows you to filter certain things and gives the work a direction. As other things are filtered or allowed in, you get a different kind of image. One would like to control that, but it is more or less a hopeless procedure.” – Jasper Johns, Dec 2006

 

 

free your mind

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dinner for 40

I was talking with Giorgio one night. He probably knows as much about art and artists as anyone else I know. He took me to MOMA one time and we were looking at a giant Motherwell. I was having trouble understanding it. He patiently asked me to examine the language that was being spoken right off the wall. Not really spoken in this particular instance as I look back on it, more like a diety bellowing down off the mountaintop. It was probably one from the Elegy to the Spanish Republic series although I’m not exactly sure. But it changed me that day. So on that night years later I had been carrying around this notion that art is a process of problem solving. Transforming a thought and idea into a tangible object. Probably a concept that has been written about by scholars for generations, anyway he humored me and let me feel like I discovered something.

 

 

While I was at it, I did this

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brookhaven

Leaving the 90′s, we left the city. It was 13 years and time for a change. Although I missed the charge you get living in the city, there is wear that is associated with it. It wasn’t so much fleeing as a re-associating with an environment I grew up in. A major part of my youth was spent outdoors in the woods. So we got the chance to jump into a new world, and we took it. Time moves slower and is more in tune with the cycles of nature. I had forgotten how seasons changed and was happy to get back to the dirt closeness of those changes.

 

 

But my work continued

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mohawk further along

As it happened I was spending a lot of time in and around the city of Key West. Whole chunks of time from 1977 onward. Weeks and months of living, fishing, conch biking, hanging out in bars owned by close friends, getting stung by a scorpion, Pernot puffs, and Cristal back when is was only $50 and none knew what it was yet. The Chart Room, Chez Emile, Port of Call, decades before the first cruise ship ever thought of going there. I used to ride down Duval St on my skateboard with Jay pulling me on his bike. The only people in Sloppy’s were usually a handfull of old timers (drunks if you know). Mel Fisher would show up in the Chart Room and spin tales of gold and fame, not that anyone noticed. At night the whole island is alight with smells of blooms and perfume. A sleepy little town full of guile and intrigue. Too bad the most colorful characters ended up as ashes in the channel between Christmas Tree Island.

 

 

Click here for a taste

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the Mohawk years

The Mohawk. When we happened upon it, it was a drug shooting gallery. Our motley crew turned the building into 9 loft condos each was over 2,300 sf on three floors. We designed / built our own spaces. It was a challenge and most of the time exhilarating. On 4th of July we would break and watch the fireworks from the roof. By this time I had been a house painter for a dozen years. So it was time to move off the walls and onto the canvas. After a while I decided my future was my brain not my hands so I left the construction for good. But it left me with a great foundation to work off of, and I still build things all the time. Back then I built a studio for myself in my basement, and was constantly working with Tom and Giorgio on what would become 29 Kings Ct. artist studios. This allowed me to be at home in a lot of art spaces. Furthering my confidence and inspirations.

 

 

click on this to see what happened

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the early 90s

I was lucky enough to be hanging out, living in downtown D.C. during the time when the remnants of the Hanover St. collective were making their early moves in the art world. People like Greg Hannan, Giorgio Furioso, Tom Nakashima, John Winslow, Marise Riddell, and Charlie Sleichter. They revolved around the original incarnation of the WPA, Washington Project for the Arts when it was a hole in the wall down on lower Seventh St. It was a fine period and it allowed me to soak up everything I needed to get started. It was always in me, but never ventured out in the open.

It really kicked off for me when a group of us were helping Charlie & Giorgio renovate the Eckington School. All of us being young and energetic shared in the experience of going beyond our boundaries. It was edgy and dangerous at times, which made it all the better. Eckington, and the Mohawk after it, became pivotal life expressions for me.

 

 

Click on this to see what I did with it
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