(Click Image to Enlarge Slideshows)
Precussors to the Painting Environments:
• Balefire. Tar-covered 2x4, joined-triangle structures with bales of straw and gilded bale twine, all on tar paper. Low light with pin lights on the bales. App. 22' x 16' x 7'.
• 9s Field. Loose pea-sized anthracite coal and cast coal, glass sand, mica in resin. 18' x 18' x 9".
• Hummingbird (Magic Spell). First of studio walls + works on paper. Mixed media on paper: 64" x 63".
I had been experimenting with low-light environments for floor-drawing installations, but by chance I became interested in the Mayan ruins like Bonampak in Chiapas, Mexico, where murals were discovered full-color preserved after centuries of being buried in dark. I started incorporating my studio walls, floors into my mandala-based works on paper to create my first painting environment installation—color saturated, and saturated with a very particular personal sense of spirit/myth/time/place. My aim was to give 'voice' to the spirit(s) of the 'whole of the particular' through a simultaneous explosion&conflation of landscape, architecture and myth/poetry—to make a between-worlds antechamber for these voices to see what they had to say to one another. My dreams went hyper-real—jaquars stalking the perimeter. I grew up in Southern CA so Mexico wasn't a stretch, but the endeavor was more about mythic world whether Mayan or Indian or Hopi or my mother's patterned kitchen wallpaper and the smell of floor wax. And somehow, it was song. At the same time, the formal/compositional elements of my previous work were all still strongly in play. I'm showing these images in both color and black/white to get closer to the total effect—the b/w more readily shows the formal/compositional aspects of the work, but the real sense of the presence of dark, the seen/unseen was illusive in the photos.
5 projects are shown:
• Giotto's House
Out of the window,/ I saw how the planets gathered/ Like the leaves themselves/Turning in the wind./I saw how the night came . . .
– Wallace Stevens/Domination of Black
For Creative Time/Art in the Anchorage, Brooklyn, NY. Full-room installation in near dark with theatrical lighting. 9 tons of pea-sized anthracite coal, wooden steps with astro turf for treads and landing, painted columns, mixed media paintings on wood panels, and sprial nebula lighting effects on the 50'+ vaulted gothic ceiling. Light design: Douglas O'Flaherty.
• Land & Sky
The earth is alive, and the sky is alive, . . . and between them, we live.
– D.H. Lawwrence/The Plumbed Serpent.
For BACA Downtown, Brooklyn, NY. Full-room installation in near dark. I cut sections from the painted walls in my studio and used those along with the mixed media on paper and on masonite as a part of the installation. Photos don't capture the effect of near dark, but all colors including the high-load acryllic used on the walls were super saturated so that the color was as much felt as seen even in the extreme low light. Light design: Kyle Chapulis.
• Heaven + Earth
A 3-part project based on my concept, premiered at the Joyce Theater, NYC. Parts 1 and 3 had a theatrical curtain with fluorescent paint, oil stick and acrylic gems and a child's chair; Part 2 had the addition of a painted floor, columns and a painting on wood panels along with steps and the child's chair. The painting panels & the columns were repurposed from the Giotto's House installation which was the start of what has becomThe Garden at Midnight paintings—see Mid- to Large-Scale Paintings. Choreography: Bebe Miller. Light deisgn: Michael Mazzola. See Dance Environments for more . . .
• Hendrix Project & Paisley Sky
If the mountains fell lin the sea/let it be, it ain't me/. . .
Now if 6 turned out to be 9/I don't mind, I don't mind. . . .
– Jimi Hendrix/If 6 Was 9
I am including these here because although they are floor paintings, they create 'environment' as they effect much more than area alone. Both floors painted for Bebe Miller Company. Light design: Ken Tabachnick.