Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day 211 #MakeArt365

The Solution, Which is Trivial, is Left as an Exercise for the Reader, pencil, 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Day 210 #MakeArt365

Now, pencil, 2015
"The highway robber
now a disciple with shaven head
on an autumn journey."
-Yosa Buson

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Day 209 #MakeArt365

All You Can do is Try to Know Who Your Friends are as You Head Off to the War, mixed media, 2015

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Unknown Just in Progress

I've been working for months on a piece for the Openings Collective fall show at St Paul the Apostle in NYC, On the Inner and Outer Self.

'Unknown Just' came with me to the Openings Residency at St Mary on the Lake, Lake George NY. This piece was designed to incorporate nails, one of several pieces I’ve done over the years exploring this form. The step where the nails go in has been a tough one in every piece like this I’ve done, in this one even more so. The piece draws on a number of themes, Congolese nail fetishes, images of st Sebastian and the wounded Christ, the legend of the 36 Just, and the personal resonance of that legend as dealt with in the novel Last of the Just.  It's a hard piece I've regretted starting several times.

In that context, deep thanks go to Sara Paige, fellow resident, for the suggestion to make the nails a collective effort during the residency. This shared effort was a perfect fit with the rituals that partly inspired the piece and the underlying theme of how we process and find meaning in trauma collectively and spiritually. I’m deeply grateful to everyone who put part of themselves into this work. You added a spirit and depth of meaning to the piece I never anticipated. I’ll be thinking about how collective acts like this could influence future work.

“Rivers of blood have flowed, columns of smoke have obscured the sky, but surviving all these dooms, the tradition has remained inviolate down to our own time. According to it, the world reposes upon thirty-six Just Men, the Lamed-Vov, indistinguishable from simple mortals; often they are unaware of their station. But if just one of them were lacking, the sufferings of mankind would poison even the souls of the newborn, and humanity would suffocate with a single cry. For the Lamed-Vov are the hearts of the world multiplied, and into them, as into one receptacle, pour all our griefs."

-Andre Schwarz-Bart, Last of the Just

Day 207 #MakeArt365

Green, pencil, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Day 205 #MakeArt365

Last Day, pencil, 2015
My last day at Lake George with Openings Collective. I'll be thinking about the week for a long time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cedar Lane Oak Cross Section Finds a Home

So it's been more than two years since the Cedar Lane oak came down and I've been carrying a cross section of it around in the back of my van since last October. Today I finally installed it in the Teaneck Library. Looks pretty good I think.
Thanks to the countless people who worked to make this possible. Perry and Gladys Rosenstein of the Puffin Foundation who have supported the project from the beginning. Thanks to Kevin Wright for arranging the tree ring dating at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Thanks to Peter Both from Bergen County Parks who passed the section off to me. Thanks to everyone involved in the search for a final location for the cross section, Liz Celotto, Teaneck Mayor Lizette P. Parker, Teaneck Township Manager William Broughton, State Senator Loretta Weinberg and her chief of staff Debbie Francica. A special thanks to Teaneck Library Director Mike McCue for accepting the trunk and helping to move and install it. Thanks also to the friends, family and countless people, some without knowing it, who have kept me vertical over these years.

Day 196 #MakeArt365

Untitled, ink, 2015

Sunday, July 12, 2015

#MakeArt365 day 193

Tree, Fish, crayon, 2015
Coloring with a niece again, one of these was done in collaboration with Eleonora Solvej Montagna-Santella. Guess which.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Day 192 #MakeArt365

Reciting the Alphabet, pencil, 2015
"In one of my favorite Hasidic tales, it is the night of the Passover. A peasant is rushing to finish his work in the field so he can attend to the holy service. But alas, the sun drops and it is darkness when no travel is permitted. Next day the rabbi spots him and asks where he's been " Oh Rabbi, it was terrible-I was stuck in my fields after dark and had to spend the night there." "Well," says the rabbi, "I suppose you at least recited your prayers" "That's the worst of it, rabbi I couldn't remember a single prayer." "Then how did you spend the holy evening?" asks the rabbi. And the peasant answers, "I could only recite the alphabet and pray that God would rearrange the letters."
-Robert Ellsberg, The Catholic Worker, 1979

Friday, July 10, 2015

Day 191 #MakeArt365

A Contingent Peace, mixed media, 2015

"Smiling politely at abusive behavior is a practice that I have perfected over the years. Being a gentleman, slight of build, it is a skill that has largely kept me clear of the destructive path of bullets, and purchased for me a contingent peace."
-Daniel Dunn, The Catholic Worker 1994

Sunday, July 5, 2015