Friday, March 3, 2017

Canoe-Strip Canvas Series

After completing my canoe in 2013 I had quite a few strips left over that I had planned to use for something but I was waiting for inspiration as to how I could best use them. 
mixed hardwood
Finally, over the past summer, I realized I could create interesting shaped "canvases." Going Aboard was the first. I was listening to Moby Dick a lot at the time (all the way through twice and then on shuffle with the rest of my music for about a month more) so I think it was fitting, on a couple of levels, to name it after one of the book's chapters. (Photo credit for all the subsequent images are RL Photo Studio, Burlington, VT)

Going Aboard
acrylic, oil pastel, and shellac on basswood and walnut
35" x 27" x 9"
Upon seeing the series, a friend implored me to get a 22 gage pinner to hide the attachment method. The result is definitely cleaner and less distracting. With this one I needed to mill new strips, this time out of curly maple, cherry, and walnut. 
Stage Fright
acrylic and shellac on maple, cherry, and walnut
36.5" x 43" x 6"
The Gam is another Moby Dick inspired title, it refers to the meeting up and exchange of pleasantries of whaling ships on the seas and though I wasn't thinking about the chapter when I made the piece, when I was looking for a title I realized the word expressed what I had in mind in designing it. 
The Gam
acrylic and shellac on maple and cherry
36" x 43" x 5"
I was reading a book by the Dalai Lama over the summer in which he mentions that it is a good idea to have images of the Buddha around one's home. In thinking about it, and why I didn't have any, I realized I didn't like any Buddha images I had ever seen and that if I would have one that I'd like, I'd have to create it myself. With Follow Wisdom I wanted to abstract the image so that the concept of the Buddha would be more important that the specific person that modeled for it. Additionally, I chose to create radiating rainbow colors because Buddhist texts often refer to Buddhas dissolving into rainbow light.
Follow Wisdom
acrylic and shellac on walnut and birch
32" x 35" x 9"
I was in the Washington, DC area the week of the presidential election, going to museums and galleries, and seeing a lot of word art. I generally get annoyed by word art, probably because of my dyslexia, but on my way back to Vermont the two things were on the front of my mind when I was inspired to create a series of pieces that just said "ART?". As a dyslexic, I appreciate its brevity, but what I really love is its ambiguity. What is it asking? How many different ways can it be read? What is/are the answer(s)? I see it as a starting point for open-honest dialog, which is badly needed right now. 
acrylic, tinted and clear shellac on ash and walnut
32" x 34.5" x 8"
Because it can be read so many different ways, I feel it is a question worth repeating. For my second ART? piece, I rework a canoe-strip canvas that I "finished" over the summer. I like that it isn't immediately obvious what, if anything, it says.
mixed media on basswood and walnut
36.5" x 43" x 6"
I also started reworking some experimental "shellac paintings" I created back in 2010 by painting acrylic designs on top. I think the play between the acrylic foreground and tinted shellac background is interesting.
acrylic with tinted and clear shellac on birch plywood
18" x 24"
Open House
acrylic with tinted and clear shellac on birch plywood
26.5" x 22"
And finally, I had rough-cut Obsession back in 2014 but left it lying around the studio for a couple of years. Again, listening to Moby Dick gave me inspiration to finish it. The title refers to both Ahab's quest and to the act of creating this sculpture.  
acrylic, oil pastel, oil stick, and shellac on birch
10" x 28" x 2.5"