I feel great about this new scupture. It was a probem: I made a double sided painted relief scupture in my “Epiphany” series and I couldn’t figure out how to display it. Then I remembered my domestic tornado series and the epiphany is now dangling beautifully from a twister that is piercing through my ceiling. This feels completely appropriate. The domestic tornado is made from my clothing, ripped and re-pieced and covered with embroidered pleas to God for help. It was done a few years ago when my personal world was torn apart. (more here) Now that our poor world is coming apart at the seams, my tornados have a larger purpose–or at least they describe a larger thing. So now this pleading twister carries with it one of my “Epiphanies”– work that I see as a messenger of hope; a small point of light in a dark sky.
Hello. I haven’t written anything for a year. I almost forget how. First of all I am thrilled to have finished the first of two paintings for niches at ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church’ Toronto. I was honoured when Fr. Dan Donovan, priest and Toronto art collector since the 1950’s, asked me to come up with something to fit into the two niches at the church. If you know me at all, you will know that I do not normally do commissions. I find it very difficult. However I embraced the challenge and promptly caught mono so I was out of commission in both senses of the phrase for the rest of the summer. I finally finished and installed the first piece a month ago. The frame which I had great fun carving was made by carpenter, Brent Orenstein. The church is open to visitors if anybody would like to see this piece.
And here is a movie I took while the organist was rehearsing during installation. It isn’t great as far as movies go but it’s kind of interesting.
The Trip to Salvation Mountain
Now you might see a bit of a theme here. Something old is new again. Something interesting is brewing. After the commission was done I had the chance to go on a quick trip to Long Beach California. I quickly sourced local Outsider artists’ environments since that seems to be what holds my interest lately. I had the chance to see Watt’s Towers and Salvation Mountain. Now Watt’s Towers was wonderful: I loved it. But Salvation Mountain with its unabashed bible verses and idealism spoke to me in a whole different way. Here’s Watts Towers first.
And Now More Words: Revisiting the Bible
Yes my Easter Show is coming up but before it does, I am taking part in another wonderful event. Actor Ken Welsh is doing a live reading of the entire book of St. Mark at the local Anglican church in Uxbridge. He was kind enough to ask me if I wanted to have a few paintings around the church while he performs. Aside from the cross (seen below) that the church commissioned me to do several years ago, I will have two or three new works as a preview of my Easter show and I am also borrowing back ten or so older biblical paintings from local people. Victoria Joannou, violinist, will also be playing. This is a great opportunity to see Ken live. I saw him do this at Soulpepper theatre in Toronto a couple of years ago and it amazed me. Actually it was a sold-out weekday matinee and I went alone and sat beside a woman I didn’t know. I made conversation by saying I was surprised the theatre was so full on a wednesday afternoon. She looked at me as if I had an IQ of about 37 and said slowly and emphatically “well….. it’s Ken Welsh!” So there you go.
And Finally My Easter Show
This one is called Postcard from Salvation Mountain. What can I say but I hope you will come. Or should I say “wish you were here”? I hope to open my house this year as well as my studio. It is slowly becoming a piece of art in itself. Give me 20 more years….
I don’t have very many markers of time. One of the few is my yearly solo show in my studio on whatever weekend Easter happens to fall. This year it is March 25,26, and 27.
This show started as a way of coping (and perhaps avoiding) difficult family gatherings. More importantly, it has always been a quiet way to celebrate my faith in a way that includes my art. Especially appropriate to Easter, I am training to serve the chalice in the Anglican Church I go to. John, the priest was naming all of the components and for the first time I learned about the piscina, which is a little plate in the corner where any leftover consecrated wine and bread are put and then thrown outside where the wine can soak into the earth and the birds can eat the bread. The part about the birds moved me: the innocence of sparrows snacking on holy communion crumbs. Such small bits of hope.
I hope you come to my show. It’s an offering of sorts. There will be small constructed paintings of lively flocks and striped cats, tornado sculptures, linoprints and etchings. Most of these things are for sale: the show itself is a gift. 1-5 each day or email to make an appointment if you would rather do that. This show is in my studio in the tiny village of Utica: 14260 Marsh Hill Road.