Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Bill de Kooning

I recently worked on a prose poem celebrating de Kooning and some of the other New York School Painters. I thought I would share it in honor of Bill's Birthday. Enjoy

The Irascible by Owen Harvey

De Kooning.

Like light on silver,

de Kooning is

looking at water

reflecting water

reflecting standing

like a clam-digger

or a swimmer

being touched

by the silence

of water.


Pollack is breathing

after swimming in the salt ocean,

cold lungs filling with breathing

like smoke out of lungs breathing

like swimming out of the salt ocean

like smoke over the salt ocean

like the salt ocean swimming in smoke.

Smoke and salt caught in a rose-bush.


Imagining red imagining yellow imagining blue.

Light as tall as the sky.

Light as wide as the horizon.

Light to the edge of the plane.

Light to the edge of the canvas.

Light disrupted.


Spilt wine on our bed sheets,

the sun is stuck under water.

A rainbow spills

like color resting in oil

forgotten on the pavement.

Morning is the sadness

of wine after rainbows.


The sound of broken glass unable to reflect color

as it drags like nails across the dark blackboard.

A loud ca-caw ca-caw

from the murder out our window

as rained birds wait

with wet plumage

for the sun to dry their feathers.


To paint the last painting

is to paint the last painting

that one has painted

before painting the next last painting

one is going to paint last.

A black tarp is gently layered down,

black clay over the naked earth:

a blackout boogie-woogie.


Exploding fire

above the terra-cotta,

the unfixed

with the fixed,

a modern baroque

broke like words into image

like image into soul

like soul into hieroglyph,

a language without tongues.


A bloody tissue accidentally lost

in your pant pocket.

A widow’s laundry hangs long dark

and shadowed

on the clothes line

after a hot summer’s rain.

The pain of remembering something

while it is being forgotten.


A doodle is gesture

is stepping is dance

is air is breathing

is cosmos is epitaph

written in the mystery

hidden beneath a mustache.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Abstract Art at ASK March 6 - 27 2010

I am excited to be participating in the upcoming ASK members show that will be focusing on Abstract Art. Abstraction and non-objective painting have been ideas (or processes) I have struggled with ever since I first picked up a brush.
The piece for John Ashbery is in response to the poet's poem Blue Sonata. I still remember reading the poem for the first time on a summer day in Woodstock with my daughter. We were looking for poems to study together, and I was grabbed by the line "we live in the sigh of our present". It made me think of Kandinsky's ideas on the spiritual in Art and the writings of Meyer Schapiro on Mondrian. The poem made me wonder if abstraction is capable of existing outside the present, or for that matter , can abstraction exist outside its making? Either way, abstraction cannot exist in some other place, or as I have written before (not) in some other place.

The piece Glide was painted before Ashbery. Glide was painted in response to Dave Hickey's Flatland as I tried to work away from the composition I had settled on while working through the Irish Airman Series. Hickey's text and A Theory of /Cloud/ by Hubert Damisch both encouraged me to challenge an idea of space in my work- an exploration that is exaggerated in a work like Ashbery.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Music as Muse at ASK

This past year my family and I moved to the Rondout area of Kingston, NY. As a Christmas Gift post the transition, my spouse, Hillary, gave me a membership to the Art Society of Kingston, which is located just down the block from us on Broadway.

This members show is my first participation with the organization. I submitted my piece Toward a History of Glam Rock (Iggy, Bowie, & Lou) for consideration in the upcoming Music as Muse show.

The piece is an extension on my exploration of W.B. Yeats' An Irish Airman Forsees His Death:

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above...
...A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

My first exploration of the theme was done with white, black, and silver in 3 parts. I think it was the silver that directed me to consider glam rock as an avenue of influence as well. It was a step away from the machine to expression.

The Airman and the Performer both need to live in the present, balancing between the corporeal and the ephemeral in their pursuit of release.

Monday, September 8, 2008

ARTBARN 4 Images

Special thanks to Glen, Ellen, & Jay for hosting the weekend.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Working Statement for (not) in some other place

My previous body of work was an exploration of systems. Those paintings looked for the inherent differences within a repeated process. They looked for the narrative in the resulting images. Rather than each canvas being a separate painting, I began to see that many canvases can be one painting. This conceptual experience helped to expand my understanding of painting: as open-ended. Yet, I felt something was missing. After fixating on the quagmire of theory I researched in support of the work, I felt a new direction needed to open up.

Where I had previously used repetition of elements to lead the viewer through several canvases arranged across a wall, I now wanted a way to collapse that space back into a single canvas. In meditating on this challenge, I decided to re-introduce an idea of perspective into the work. Simultaneously, I re-introduced ROYGBIV, which proved pivotal in opening the work up to playful impulses.

To encourage this spontaneity, I cultivated an obsession with listening to Coltrane's album, "A Love Supreme", while making these works. Coltrane played simple melodies and improvised off of them, thereby creating a new way to experience that melody. He turned the familiar into something unexpected. It inspired me to take more risks with the composition and color.

To break my habit of conceptualizing the work while producing it, I read the poetry of John Ashbery instead of Art Theory texts. His poem "Blue Sonata" became a mantra for me in the studio as I embraced not being in some other place but "in the sigh of the present."

I believe this new body celebrates the expansion of a personal history of abstraction, bringing it into the contemporary with a lightness. In an attempt to keep geometric abstraction fresh and to re-invent it for myself, I asked: How can you take the lessons of history and make them relevant? Can they become departures for new ideas? Bringing in perspective, via the triangles or broken rectangles, provides the illusion that things are receding and coming forward. Playing with transparency and opacity keeps the work from falling into something flat or stylized. The new work employs a humor that complements the weight of historical abstraction.

August, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

(not) in some other place

Stella Maris, 2008
oil on wood, 12x12 inches

The Transubstantiation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
(Part 1: The Annunciation)
, 2008
oil on wood, 12x12 inches

The Transubstantiation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
(Part 2: Cana)
, 2008
oil on wood, 12x12 inches

The Transubstantiation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
(Part 4: The Transfiguration)
, 2008
oil on wood, 12x12 inches

The Architect's Wake, 2008
oil on wood, 10x8 inches

Sunday, July 13, 2008

(not) in some other place

Roof beam, 2008
oil on canvas, 14x12 inches

Shea, 2008
oil on wood, 10x10 inches

Glide, 2008
oil on canvas, 10x8 inches

Crayola, 2008
oil on wood, 10x10 inches

Mecox, 2008
oil on canvas, 14x12 inches

Sunday, July 6, 2008

(not) in some other place

Splinter, 2008
oil on wood panel, 10x8 inches

Flock, 2008
oil on wood panel, 10x8 inches

Egg, 2008
oil on wood panel, 16x12 inches

Pong, 2008
oil on wood panel, 10x8 inches

Bric-a-brac, 2008
oil on wood panel, 16x12 inches

(not) in some other place

Good-n-Plenty, 2008
oil on canvas, 38x36 inches

for John Ashbery, 2008
oil on canvas, 28x24 inches

for G.M. Hopkins, 2008
oil on canvas, 16x34 inches

Gull, 2008
oil on canvas, 40x38 inches

Starbuck, 2008
oil on canvas, 10x10 inches