I am writing this from a room in Berlin which the Strychnin gallery lends out to their traveling artists. It’s a modest sized room filled with art and drawings on the wall of the previously visiting artists. Its my 4th stay here, I haven’t been here since last October and its getting chock full of art and memories. There is a small fridge for all the goodies one can get at the amazing Farmers market around the corner on Sundays and a work bench which I grown to miss since the first week I spent finishing my first show here in October 2006. It’s a perfect dose of solitude and inspiration to be here in Berlin, an amazing city at an exciting time to be in this living city. Not to say Manhattan is not alive, it’s different. It’s hard to pinpoint and explain, and hell, right now I want to tell about the show that I am here finishing up.
It’s titled "Garden of the Dispossessed". I got the title from what my good friend and long time collaborator Nicole Belvedere said in describing a piece I made with her in 2004.
The older work has little to do at all with the show I made but the title transcends into the new work.
For me, the meanings of the works revealed themselves as the body grew. I found myself making more and more city landscapes, towers and clusters of buildings. I spent the majority of the year at home, in the studio in Manhattan surrounded by the people and structures, which inspired and penetrated the works. I am not sure if I was smothered or enamored by the city, which I fell in love with as a child, constant movement and unnatural sounds.
I also felt a strong desire to return to the roots of what spawned the works I create which is photography, straight up black and white silver prints. I love working in the darkroom, although after 19 years, I have developed allergic reactions to the chemicals involved. I seem to be the only on in the rent a darkroom who dresses like Darth Vader with my gloves and respirator mask. Anyhoo, despite the formal wear, I love to be there in the dark.
So I spent a lot of time this year with in the darkroom, rekindling my romance with the medium, being very attentive to the fine print method, then bringing it back to the studio, and abusing the paper to all hell but holding on more than before to the essence of the print. I still scratch and carve and scribe onto the work but I held back on transforming the original print too much, allowing the original landscapes on the negative to remain.
But that’s not to say that my desire for color and super saturated imagery had disappeared, I was still working on pieces of multicolored and layered images. The challenge for me was to discover the thread that ran through the two approaches of technique. I certainly wasn’t trying to make them fit, or even feel like they need to. But I knew somehow the works were off shoots of one another, referenced each other and would continue a narrative when mingled.
What I have here now are the works I created from some of the images I shoot this past year. A lot of things happened, as always, in the world and my personal life. Emotions flourished and some things have come to pass and died. Ideas had for certain images transformed and revealed themselves as different over time. The story throughout the works now is unstressed and fluid. And although there is quite a bit of text in the works, I feel the real tale is that of a visual language and deeply personal, offering also to the viewer to interpret for themselves, to use for their own. I would love to hear your take on them. I would love your feedback