Follow by Email

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Tracing my predilection for cardboard literature

2016 signage

My interest in the intersection of raw street signage and the tragic narrative of society victims goes back many years...specifically to my divorce. That is when I found myself on a new and precarious financial and social brink. In 2009 I photographed my teenage son at the intersection of our small town with a sign, haunting and hinting at our new sense of place.
 My son, July 2009
 I altered the sign to be more specific in 2010.
cardboard, ink, paint and collage, December 2010
 In 2011 I moved to Florida where the cost of living is a lot less than New York. Immediately I took notice of the many beggars standing at the highway intersections with their signs. I became entranced by the messages, the short stories, the written summaries, and the haiku-like poetry scrawled in cardboard and waved against car windows in an effort to tug our hearts and open our wallets. The authors seemed under duress. The signs were like flags and themselves were important to the beggars. They refused to part with them as if they would be powerless without the scrappy badge. The attitude reminds me of studio artists. We all are begging for attention. We are standing in situations of duress and with luck can find ink and a surface to create a story that, like a great work of art, whistles a wallet open.
February 2013

In 2014 I started making street signs in the style of great artworks.
After Brito

After Giotto

Friday, October 21, 2016

Edition of Anxious Truths

 It's pre-election time here in the USA, and of our two main contenders for the presidency, one politician paints the landscape as an apocalyptic promise, and the other as a glass ceiling to smash through. Science and statistics actually show that there has never been a safer or healthier time or place to be than right now and right here. We live longer and in more comfort than our ancestors...

So why are Americans so anxious? Our anxiety levels are off the charts. I see it everyday with my students and their parents. The media feeds it. Everyone seems to be on some sort of medication.
 My answer is to search out a set of symbols and re-create the poetics of street signage. Then, like a small loose-bound book, bind up the packet as a small gift edition. Contained in the "pages"' are the words and images that promise to measure the truth and realities of our current given situation.

It is my own cardboard literacy project. Ink and acrylic on cardboard bound by ribbon. Edition of 10

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cardboard bards

 Living in Miami means reading your intersections and experiencing a constant literary drive-by.
 This has led me to ponder signage, (I used to work for a sign maker) and the one or two line phrases that can shoot you into imagined stories.
 If we were reduced, (as these bards are), to telling our story on one piece of cardboard, what would you say?
How would you share the truth of your situation? I'm creating a set of visual symbols representing the truths in my life...
Next will come words and I will bind them together for my own cardboard literary statement!

Sunday, October 9, 2016


first draft of this image: Warding off Monsters
During the dark ages in Europe, monks in their fortress-like-monasteries, kept literature alive. They worked by candle light and burning whale oil to copy and embellish stories of the prophets and saints in Greek and Latin. These documents where bound into books and called illuminated manuscripts, not only because of the bright colors and glow to the pages. The name also references the capacity of the books to hold light, (education and wisdom), for the largely illiterate population living under fear and superstition. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Survivor guilt

Almost a thousand lives have been lost in Haiti. God please bless that island sometime soon. Their homes and schools are blown away, bridges toppled, and crops destroyed by a massive barrelling  hurricane and then... a day or two later the same Hurricane, Matthew, skates along the coastline of the USA, where we wait in fear of losing our electricity, running out of water and fighting over fuel, without daring to enter our land space. It just brushed past us. The worst damage was caused by storm surges coinciding with the high tides. How come we are the lucky ones, again?

Our strategies this time were simple: storing water in and keeping it out. Of course I am thankful. But I feel a little survivor guilt too.

Luther the movie

A biopic of Martin Luther made in 2003 , directed by Eric Till, and starring Joseph Fiennes, makes a good Hurricane Matthew diversion.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Taking another bite at Cranach the elder

Here are a  few paintings from a series I did a few years ago. Not knowing I was related to Cranach, I used his versions of Adam and Eve and embedded them into the paper made from cooked apples, branches and leaves with the shredded khaki pants of my sons and then I sewed collage elements into the composition.
There was a time element at play. Embedded photos had to bleed through the layers of the paper to give a ghostly presence.

Bits and pieces of apple tree were left inside the paper sandwich to eventually stain the surfacees.
Funny, how at the time I was obsessed with the Genesis story of all consuming curiosity and how now I am mulling over the violent and remorseless beheading of an enemy in the Judith story. What does that say about me? Or about my great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandfather? He was a good businessman and painted for money. Once the church became embroiled in fractious doctrines, and there was a rise in iconoclasts who destroyed many of the artworks in the church, Cranach had to diversify. The portraits of Judith were made by Cranach for private patrons and carried private symbolism. I think my own Adam and Eve series calmed my anxiety about my failing marriage and helped me literally layer my own history into a genesis story of my own. The Judith beheadings baffle me. I am interested in the opulent fashion statements in each painting... and the soft self reflecting smiles of the slicing murderesses. I don't think the paintings I am doing are any good for me. They kind of give me an upset stomach.