these are some of the works i've squeezed in in the last couple of years.
they don't create much of a body of work,
but they telegraph a style, process and direction.
most of my stuff is driven by dream images and the unconscious,
and definitely influenced by some of the writings of eastern bloc
and south american writers.
the themes are usually political, but as david hockney says,
"only believe half of what an artist tells you about their work."
which means there's a half that might be true.
behind each image is a link to a larger-sized, higher-resolution jpeg document. these are copyrighted too, so credit the source if you use it.
- PHISH, 20k jpeg
i had a dream that a half-pelican, half-fish character was swiming around in a pool vigorously, creating a whirl pool (that's all of the dream i'll tell...). in classical jungian analysis, this might suggest a primal complex, diving into a man-made consiousness and stirring it up. i kind of dig on the union of opposites that the pelican and fish represent, and the furious spiral of the whirlpool could be the food chain endlessly chasing itself. examples of this pathology in action: work to be free. have sex for love. avoid intimacy or destiny.
- what we've created, 16k jpeg
i painted this a couple of years ago when, possibly during the gulf war, the media coverage was so oppressed and manipulative (it still is, but i'm more jaded now) with pro-business, government as business puppet, and military as business smashing machine being crammed down our throats in a patronizing nationalistic/racist theme. being an extension of the media in advertising, i was torn by the hypocracy of what i do and what i believe -- my praxis was b.s. i was also thinking quite a bit about structualism, and how the longer you're in corporate america and the farther you progress along the corporate model, the more you need to protect the history and structure you've created. this is why some of my coolest, most open-minded friends have turned into raving, protectionist protagonists after breaking through a class or salary range (if one of my friends are reading this, i'm probably not referring to you, heh-heh). do i believe this has to happen? no, but it takes an inner strength and conviction to avoid succumbing to the seduction. so, this painting has an ambiguous shape of a person looking into a reflection that only shows a hat -- like milan kundera's references to the hat. for me the hat represents a conspicuous, critically created social construction of self, that eventually overshadows the true substance of self.
- ANGEL, 20k jpeg
gabriel marquez garcia has a beautiful short story about an old angel who drags his weary body into a small town where he is rediculed and tortured by children. i love the use of angels as representation of the spirit, even a national spirit. this angel is pinned against a tree whose roots dig deep with viens into the earth. on a technical side, i let this canvas age in the elements to take on some a natural patina and odor. i wanted to emphasize the earthly aspects over the etheral. note: new comment added 10/2000: this picture has new significance for me today. the model for this piece was a former roommate and as close to a brother as you can find in a friend. his last name was d'angelo, which is also loaded with significance. he passed away at 40-years old from what we believe was a rare heart disease. he had a huge heart and i console myself in the thought that it was too big for even his broad chest. i remember one time discussing his mother's passing when he was in his late teens and the image he held of her being that of a bird; whenever he focused his thought on her when he got away from the city, it seems a bird would appear and he knew she was near. could be why his interests in gliding, diving and eventually harley's all had a form of flight to them. in her eulogy of him, his wife said that she was teaching their children about angels and that's the image i will always hold of him. i've been deep in greif about his passing. i miss him and the joy he brought to this place. i've added some other versions of the picture and they link to a larger image than were available for the other pieces.
- Liberation, 320k jpeg this was part of my angel series. i got heavily into eastern bloc and third-world literature, partially on the hypothesis that people under the gun were more alive and their art expressed this.
in western-influenced writing in areas where oppression reigned, angels became metaphors for the human condition.
i'd argue this extends beyond occidental expression and can be seen in the thai ramakin, chinese and native american folklore and more. it's archetypal, and so i played with the metaphor as well.
i was working the theme of "liberation." not freedom, but the process of becoming free.
for those who knew my mindset back then, i was nearly psyche-mortally fearful about commitment feeling the chains that bound me to one thing would keep me from reaching potential.
and for those who knew me back then, i would like to share my conclusion with 20/20 hindsight: the strongest chains of all were those fears.
when i surrendered to love i was liberated in ways i could not have known then. granted, it was good love. true love. the kind that doesn't come along but once every 50 years or so.
still, i harbor no regrets and am content with the knowledge that real learning and awareness were created from all those missed dives at freedom.
i empathize and understand others taking that path and don't believe for a moment that mine is the only path of liberation; just the one that worked for me.
some technical notes: this picture was as a work in progress. i gave the finished piece to a friend , have fallen out of touch with them and never photographed the final work (if you see this and still have the piece, drop me an email so we can shoot it). so it might be of interest to point out that the small rectangle to the right is actually a 4x5 photo taped to the canvas for lighting reference.
the photo is of my friend, and to pose for this picture we strung rope through his arms. i wanted to stretch the chest and have the figure rising or falling, tethered eternally. btw, i also removed secondary sexual characteristics, perhaps as a political statement or from a sense that the angel's vessel would be one step removed from the chemical and biological traits that influence our actions and thought.
- Opening, 20k jpeg submission of the ego to learn what our rationale mind can not know.
- Bruce Klien Panting, 12k jpeg bruce klien is an incredible berkeley, ca-based artist, mature in style and abilities. i saw this painting seven years ago and could not get the image out of my head. it was a painting i should have painted. but i did not. i have not painted six-hours a day for the last twenty years as bruce has. the painting says new things to me all the time.
- self-portrait/sketch, (51k jpeg), pencil on paper, so it may not come out too clear on an 8-bit monitor...
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