February 13th, 2010 ...through line... opened at Solomon Projects in Atlanta. This exhibition was the first time I took an honest look back at why I make the work that I make. Not only did I explore the process, I also examined the sources of content. One of the central pieces in the show was a set of four drawings on watercolor paper depicting the north, south, east and west elevations of the first modern home that I came in contact with as a kid growing up in Winterset Iowa. I've posted photographs of the house before on the blog.
The largest piece in the exhibition was a 17' drawing of Quai St. Michel, the entire street elevation of the street on which Matisse housed his first apartment studio. Directly across the Seine from Notre Dam. In the exhibition, the drawing hung directly across the gallery from an etching of Notre Dam by Matisse. Ironically, this etching was removed from a book containing a suite of etchings.
Seated to the left of the gallery entrance was "Charlie, meet Malevich" 2009 The introduction to the show. Modern art literally and humorously meeting modern architecture, creating a jumping off point for the show. You can't help but notice the I-beam column as you walk into the space. Painted as though an intoxicated abstract expressionist worked late into the night applying the finish, creating an obstacle in the way, giving the viewer a choice of approach to the work. There were four columns, one in each corner. They assisted in dividing the planes of the walls by hiding the corners of the gallery. This allows the viewer to almost see the space in the round, erasing the hard edge corners of the gallery. As you examine the works in the space you begin to notice that many of the works have been completed on book pages. Torn from exhibition catalogs, sketch books, and luxurious coffee table books by Taschen. All of the pages are altered by cutting, drawing, painting and collaging. I'd like to think that my artistic statements begin with creative observations.
Book pages have been a big part of my work since the beginning of my career. As a self taught artist, books were my studio, my museum, my classroom and even my professor. The investigation often leads to a need to physically alter the material to better understand what I am seeing.
It is not a surprise that I chose the works on book pages when Anna Kustera asked me to do a two person show with Charles Labelle. Opening March 26th, 2010 at the Anna Kustera Gallery in Chelsea. The front gallery space will be used as an extension of the ...through line... show. I will be focusing on altered book pages and the first generation of drawings out from the book pages. The various drawings will talk about the relationships between modern art, architecture and the iconic decorative objects of the era of modernism.