Two worlds merge in this design: prehistoric pottery of the Sikyatki of Hopi legend and the modern abstract world of Frank Stella. For years I have been fascinated by the ancient cultures of South, Central, and North America and the beauty inherent in both. The reptilian form, and especially the Great Plumed Serpent, figure prominently in Hopi culture. What to do with this form which I had put onto a screen for printing some 30 years ago? The “aha” moment came when a I viewed a Frank Stella exhibit at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. His approach to abstract geometric forms inspired me so much that I played with line and color in combination with ancient form.
Ancient Memories--Then and Now, Silkscreen with Oils, 7.25 X 7.25, $140 USD
Time--how does it become transformed within our psyches? The novels of Marias and Barnes explain time to their readers in concepts transcending the present. Memory begins from the moment of event occurrence. Events pass through our perceptual mechanisms resulting in as many renditions of an event are there are people. Twisting and turning of memory elements make us into whom we imagine ourselves to be. Time becomes critical in the process.
I was inspired by the work of Julian Barnes and Javier Marias as I viewed this image into being. Each looks at time and remembrance some place in their novels, The Sense of an Ending (Barnes) and Dark Back of Time (Marias). Barnes writes that "time grounds us and then confounds us." (102) How true! Marias expresses the same in a different way: "Everything is fractured" and "nothing is known with certainty and everything is told figuratively" (201). Time is the critical factor caught in a moment of my imagination and frozen there for time (unless I decide to change it) thus confounding me even more. Wait until I read Proust--will it be the English or French version? Time will tell.
Remembering Time, Monotype with charcoal and oil, 9 3/4 X 5, $250 USD
Once again I have been inspired to paint a rendition of the Taos Pueblo, continuously in existence for centuries. Its magic inspires the people of the pueblo and the people of the town. Its very spirit dominates the land for peoples of the present and the future. I first came here in the 80s just for a day to visit Taos and the pueblo. Work on a new pueblo structure or perhaps repair on one of the existing structures prompted me to inquire about purchase of a pueblo building brick. I still have that brick. It has traveled to California, Nevada, and now once again back to its home here in Taos. I never wanted to live in Taos, but here I am years later--convinced that the magic of the mountain and the pueblo is part of my own spirit.
The Eternal Pueblo, Oil on Canvas, 9 X 12, $260 USD
I live in Taos, the town whose history started with this pueblo and its people. Although the main thrust of my work is contemporary exploration of the face and psychology of what lies behind, I continue to paint pueblo images to remind me of the beauty of this area. This piece is a limited edition, 4 of 25, almost completed covered by oil paints so that it looks much like the original. Maybe a reminder of your visit to Taos or maybe just a bit of the past of America to brighten your walls.
Several months ago I visited the Morgan Library in New York City--one of my favorite stops in NYC--where I viewed the drawings of statues, broken fragments of statues, executed by Jim Dine in visits to the Glyptotech Museum in Munich. I was so impressed by the passion and power of these drawings that I decided to try one of my own. Not a copy of any statue other than the statue in my mind, this is the result.
Fleeting time caught in visual snippets that can last for centuries. So many of those snippets have endured in caves, artifacts excavated from the soil, and memories of man. Scratches in the rocks have told us much. Blotches of color and pigments have done the same. Archaeologists put them all together, interpret, and tell us much about the history of man. From the time that I was a child until this part of my life, I have been intrigued by the fragments left behind--so much mystery and still so much to learn.
Fragments of Time, Monotype mounted on archival mat board, 6 X 4" (image size), framed in contemporary black frame, $100 USD
In the foothills of the Alps between France, Germany, and Switzerland there lies an area fertile with creativity, past and present. It is here that archaeologists found Lion Man, a figurine dating back to the Paleolithic era 35,000 to 40,000 years ago. Carved from mammoth bone, it stands about 11 inches high and is the first known cave art
"Searching for my Muse in the Paleolithic Caves of the Alps," Oil on Masonite, 12 X 9," $275.00 USD
to depict a human with animal features. Lion Man is only one small remnant of the flowering of creativity that archaeologists have found in this region. The oldest musical instruments in the world--intricately carved flutes from mammoth bones and swan bones have been found in the same area, a tribute to man's desire to ascend from mundane reality into figurative representation.
Because of my love for archaeology and my life as an artist, it only seemed appropriate to include Lion Man in my self portrait.
For years I have been fascinated by the architecture, culture, and history of the Central American Mayans. So much so that several years ago on a trip to Belize City, I found a way to go to Punta Gorda, a place where Mayans still live today in much the same way as their ancestors did. A small plane with seats for about six flew over the jungle, stopping every so often to sit down on a gravel path, drop off a package, and pick up a package. The trip itself was an experience not to be forgotten. At last we arrived in Punta Gorda.
A young Mayan man and his grandfather sat with me for a time. The young man was so excited to try out his English on an American and I was so happy to learn a few words of Mayan. The grandfather had seen many years with a face that matched. Wonderful people and a wonderful experience. Men still went to work in the fields; the women still took care of the thatched homes, doing some embroidered handwork to sell to the few tourists at the time.
I wonder what has happened to this village in the 20 plus years since I visited.
Mayan Memories, Oil on Canvas, 40 X 30," $2400.00 USD