Several months ago, I was offered a one-man show at the Grovewood Gallery, here in Asheville, NC. I’ve been in a bunch of exhibitions and a number of group and two person shows, but have never before gone solo.
Isn’t that nice, I thought. I should probably look at the space they expect me to fill. I walked around with a casual attitude looking at a lot of large walls, trying to visualize the number of works I had to create in a limited amount of time.
I had six or eight finished pieces in the studio, but I really had no idea of what I was going to do to fill the rest of the space. I spent several days dallying and messing about, searching for inspiration. I finally realized I’d better do a Jack Rabbit start.
These twelve leaping Jack Rabbits are painted in full intensity (pure quality). The twelve colors are Johannes Itten’s Bauhaus color wheel with logical names and the limited number for ease of selection and combination. Not so much a system, but rather a reference device and point of departure for artists.
I use “dancing” as a metaphor for the way I work. I started dancing slowly at first, just to get the rhythm by sketching ideas, cutting and manipulating the papers and a rough approach to color. Last year, I did a series of ten dancers, all with a reason to be dancing alone. The reasons were in scrabble letters at the bottom.
I do work at night when I get in the flow. Quiet, no phones or visitors and I can concentrate on my dance steps. Cutting, bending, folding, is my rhumba for work.
You can’t imagine the false starts, throwing away paper, stumbling through a simple two step, re-cutting and re-painting. I’m glad nobody watches me because a spinning dervish would be a slow dance at this point.
Suddenly, I’ve got three months left, and one of those months, or more, is for the framer, and I can’t seem to get anything finished. My problem is time, and my old bugaboo procrastination. There are so many other things I want to do with my time and the gallery assumes I’m doing the paper sculpture Macarena here.
That’s what I need. A couple of doubles should loosen me up. If you’ve ever seen a plastered dancer then you know what a boozy artist is like when he tries to waltz or work. You can’t boogie when you’re buzzed or blitzed.
Those days, nights, weeks and months are tough. Life and art are harder as I have aged. Picasso said, “The problem with age, is aging. When you get to an advanced age, you feel like you’re twenty again and want to get a lot of things done.” The way things get done at my age is by dancing with a lot of partners, and now I want to thank them.
My wife, Karen, for her constant support all these years, and my son, Marco, for re-working my website under pressure to incorporate my new work. Nancy Swift, friend and agent, who handles all the details. Sherry Masters, general manager of the Grovewood Gallery, and Karen Kennedy, gallery manager. Frameworks’ wizard, Robert Reitz who creates my beautiful shadow box frames.
And thank you for visiting me, now my dance card is full.
I’m never satisfied with what I know.
Only, with what I can find out.
“Nobody Watching, I Dance” is available for $1000.
“Jack Rabbit Color Wheel” is available for $1000.
My work can be purchased at the Grovewood Gallery on the grounds of the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. Click on the gallery link if you are interested in one of my workshops.
Please plan to attend my three month exhibit at the Grovewood Gallery to help kick off American Craft Week. The opening is one week from tomorrow, Saturday, 4-6 pm.
Music by Bruce Lang, good eats, lively conversation and a paper sculpture demonstration by yours truly.
“Medicine Bundle” is one of four new limited edition, signed, Giclée prints to be offered at the show. $250. Edition of 150.