I have a show of portraits coming to the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art October 27th 2017. I am very thankful to be showing at UICA because it is one of the leading alternative art spaces in the entire midwest. This will be my first time showing a significant body of work of large scale paintings. I've been painting for over 30 years and this is something I simply have never done before. What makes this show really significant to me is not just the large scale of the paintings and exhibiting in a top drawer alternative space but it is that these paintings reflect the very unique place I find myself at this time in my life. I am in a place of reconstruction and reinvention. After many years of painting I feel as tho I am actually rediscovering what it means to make a painting. I came to a point in my life when I realized what used to work was no longer working. I had set off on my adventure riding a strong spirited horse pounding the path of my life adventure until one day I looked down to find that not only had my valiant steed collapsed underneath me but it had died and was beginning to smell. This happened to me last Summer. It came in the form of a three month long depression which I wrote a blog titled This Dark Enchantment. Fortunately I was able to leave my dead horse and moved on. Being depressed I had my first artist block in my life. Fortunately I was able to slowly came out of my dark tunnel by doing a drawing series of a little still life I set up of a clock, a stack of books and a conch shell. I showed up each morning and did a drawing for an hour or so finishing it by writing down a brief statement of what I was thinking and feeling that day. I did this daily over the course of two months. It felt like something between therapy and becoming an art student again. It was this humble little practice that got me making art again. In fact it actually lead me into the current portrait series I am now working on and enjoying so much.
At this time in my life I feel like I a hermit crab that has left his shell that had become too small and is now crawling towards a larger shell, hoping he doesn't get gobbled up on route. Painting on a larger scale is moving towards a larger shell. Allowing paint to drip and run is moving to a larger shell. Painting to create an image and then scraping away that image and leaving only a ghost of what was is moving to a larger shell. Smearing paint to obscure the image I worked so hard to create with a few quick and random slashes with a drywall knife is moving towards a larger shell. With every painting I can feel myself getting a little closer, a little bigger.
A few years back I discovered a new word: rewilding. This strange new work hit an immediate responsive chord within me beyond how it was originally used to describe returning land and animals to its original wild state. I felt that perhaps with in myself there could be a sort of rewilding, a rediscovery of what it means to be human, to be alive, spontaneous, to live in an organic and potent way, to have control and loose it at the same time. I wanted this for my life and I wanted this for my approach to art making as well. In fact I believe that my life and my painting somehow move back and forth in some kind of inner reinforcing dialogue. Perhaps it is a sort of wave pattern. One makes the other possible bouncing back and forth and to keep both healthy and responsive they both must remain wild at heart.