Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Time travel

Today's studio time was completely dedicated to rearranging some of my storage and work areas. I've had a studio-mate who hasn't been using her part of the space because of first work and later, work and graduate school obligations. I took over the whole space about three years ago and spread out, accordingly. She's going to be returning to use a small area soon and I had to move a bunch of stuff around.

This is actually good for me because it's making me think smarter about how I use my work and storage space. Of course, any undertaking of this type comes with some serious re-considerations about crap that has been hanging around because, you know, I'm going to do 'something' with those odd pieces of plexiglas 'one day'. I haven't done any work that has included plexiglas in years and it's been taking up space for the last 8 years. On top of that, I dragged that crate from my last studio so, it might be time for it to go, along with the bag of wire hangers and old, broken vhs player...don't ask because I haven't the slightest clue as to why I have them there.

All of the rummaging through my work sent me down the time tunnel to my earlier years of art-making, some of which I'm going to share here, beginning with a selection of pastels that go back to 1987 (the years are adding up!). As I looked through some of this work, I picked out a few and took some photos of them on the spot. I had a problem with the glare on the acetone that covered each piece for protection, but I found ways to minimize the issue so the posted image is as close to the original as possible.

I sure a lot of readers of this blog might be surprised to see these images, considering that most of my known work is abstract. I've kept a lot of this early work because it reminds me of where I've been and keeps me in touch with the great sense of discovery I had then and which still fuels me today.

These pieces were complete during my 5 year hiatus from college ('86-'91). I was still carrying on with traditional image-making that I started with in high school, mainly still-life and landscapes.
Still Life with Orange, 1987, pastel on paper, 25"x 19"

(Apologies for the angle, but the glare was too much to deal with otherwise)

Backyard Paradise, 1987, pastel on paper, 25" x 19"

This was done in the back yard of a friend's house in South Philly that I lived in at the time. There was nothing really special about the space, but the late afternoon light always grabbed me, so one day I stayed out there and worked.

Schyulkill River-South, 1987, pastel on paper, 19" x 25"

In high school, I was introduced to Impressionism, which heavily influenced how I functioned as a budding artist, right down to doing a lot of plein-air work. For a couple of years and especially during the spring/summer of '87, I made weekly trips from South Philadelphia to the banks of the Schyulkill River and did a lot of pastel works on the spot. I worked on the spot and finished the pieces where I was with no other work done later.

Kelly Drive Rock Tunnel, 1987, pastel on paper, 19" x 25"

More "time travel" tomorrow...
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