Monday, August 3, 2015

People Who Need People

Detail of one of my paintings.

Rizzoli pays tribute to Charleston’s own Amelia Handegan with a monograph due out next year. Finally!  Amelia’s been quietly practicing her craft in this small, relatively isolated yet beautiful, historic, town for decades. She’s caught the eye of the local cognoscenti and beyond, still, I trust this exposure will bring a greater audience into the know for a level of recognition her work so richly deserves.

An early dummy copy of the book. 

Blushing pink vignette in Amelia's office.

Typical eclectic mix in the office.

Photos showing the lofty nature of the space and the two antique panels I copied.

Over the years I’ve worked with her on a number of projects and she’s called upon me to create and stretch as an artist which in itself is quite gratifying. I snapped some pictures in her office which is a good representation of her aesthetic, rich yet un-fussy. 

The copies I made of the American primitive panels.

Details of "panel one".

Details of "panel two" I don;t know which one is nuttier but they both have that kind of joyous exuberance found in the best primitive paintings.

Hanging there is a couple of 19th c. panels that she had me copy for a project a few years ago. That project was published in a magazine but didn’t include shots of my work so I’m presenting it here. My preference is to show my work in context which in this case I can’t do so I’m doing the next best thing by showing the originals hanging on Amelia’s walls and the copies I made in my studio with details. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Through a Glass Darkly

Splatting, splashing, and swirling followed by tightly controlled strokes and hard edge outlines describes much of my painting technique. The gold panels I painted for Amelia Handegan’s foyer are all about that. The paint mixtures are mostly my own creation consisting of various gold hued mica powders and flakes suspended in acrylic polymer emulsions. The panels are dense and rich, so dense and rich it’s difficult to capture with a camera but here I present results from my recent photo-shoot. Someday, someone better at this than I will make better photographs. Until then this record is for you. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Have we Met?

How tiresome! The front stairs are all closed off and the fifth avenue facade looks like a construction zone with tent poles. Must be some stuffy little socialite affair. Actually, turns out it was a set-up for the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art 2015 Gala , ho hum. No, I was not invited.  And I hadn’t planned another trip to see still more FLW ,(please see last blog post),but, oh well, since I’m in might as well. BTW I’m about half way through Frank Lloyd Wright: a biography by Meryle Secrest. Read about the axe murders and fire just before going to sleep last night. Actually, no, I didn’t sleep, well hardly.

So let us get into some really dreamy imagery. That would include most everything in the Sultans of India, 1500-1700 Opulence and Fantasy. Although, does shooting a disembodied head with a bow arrow count as a dream? Whatever, I couldn’t help staring at this odd little cosmos. Then I’ll take you over to the other end of the building, the American wing, for some Louis Sullivan and his offspring FLW. Let’s stop in a wee cozy gallery to see a charming collection of Robert Motherwell prints and circle back around to gaze upon an awesome Japanese room and end up contemplating Cleopatra’s Needle in the springtime. Done and done.

Detail of Sullivan staircase. Gorgeous, no?
Comfy. I think I could be very happy here.

Is there anything more beautiful in the whole museum than this?

Oh, there’s more of course. I went to the Met two days in a row, filled up a memory card, but that wasn’t even the reason for my trip. It was spring. Isn’t that enough of a reason? No? I’m teasing. Actually the point was nutmeg, I mean the Nutmeg State.

Motherwell, champion of the Abstract Expressionist.

A long way form Egypt.

Springtime in New York. Someone should write a song about it.

We’ll get there. We’ll get there.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wright This Way

Drove to Chicago, all things know, all things know.

But wait. Let’s back up. We’ll start in Los Angeles at Barnsdall Park where the recently renovated Hollyhock House pulled an all-nighter free-for-all; literally, it was open all night and free to get in.  I couldn't resist that plus there’s been a lot of anticipation because the place has been closed for years. It’s Frank Lloyd Wright in his Mayan revival, although, I think that’s a bit superficial. I mean, definitely, you can see the Mayan Temple on the outside but I think the genius of Wright is on the inside.  The interior volumes are thrilling. Maybe that’s just me but I find really thoughtful architecture thrilling. That quality does not translate into photos, I don’t think, but anyway, here you are:

You're welcome!
This is the west facade and those are the living room windows.
This court yard is 180° from the above. 
Inside, at last. The living room with a view of the city on one side and courtyard on the other.

Night view of the courtyard and the eponymous hollyhocks.

Closer and closest.

Dining room and kitchen beyond.

Little did I know, because it wasn't planned at the time, but a short while after seeing Hollyhock House I would see where it all began for Wright in Oak Park, IL.  And just like Sufjan Stevens I really did drive to Chicago (from South Bend, Indiana –a story for another post).  I love to visit Chicago but always in the past have stayed close to The Loop, which is all I knew until now. Of course I knew about Oak Park but thought, oh that’s so far away. It’s really not, although when Wright first moved there all his windows facing north looked to open prairie. That’s hard to picture today. What you can see in his home and his studio is a relentlessly creative mind germinating one idea after another and it continues around the corner and down the street. 

A shot only possible in the winter, though winter is long in Oak Park.

Front and side of FLW Oak Park. The side view highlights the evolution of his thinking and  expanded practice.

Here's the master bedroom and flanking murals. No doubt the Native Am. figures were inspired by the prairie view.

The playroom from both sides. Wouldn't you love to?
Detail of the playroom mural.
I know the broad strokes of Wright’s life but seeing so much of his work all at once really whetted my appetite for more. Actually my interest goes back to my teenage years since I considered the possibility of enrolling at Taliesin. I wish I still had the application materials. My recollection is that the packet was beautifully designed and printed on fine stock. I was a little shocked and intrigued by some of the requirements. There were specific instructions about what to bring to wear, how to dress for dinner, and there was the requirement that each student design and build his own habitation. Actually, I saw some of those little “forts” scattered about the property at Taliesin West in Scottsdale when I visited years ago. 

The studio with it's low overhead drawing boards and soaring central atrium.

The walking tour just around the corner.

Long story short I became a painter rather than an architect but as readers of this blog know I have often combined my painting with architecture. It was gratifying to hear from the tour guide at the Wright home that FLW really preferred art be a part of the architecture rather than a framed pictures hung on the wall. I think architects who feel that way may be as rare as Wright. I don’t understand that but I think that’s pretty true. What do you think?

Related Posts with Thumbnails