Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nicola Tyson

How could I miss Nicola Tyson? Better late than never. I’m not in NY, but I’d love to see this show – and more to the point, I'd like to witness this reading she gave. Her various letters to great male artists are so satisfying for me to read. I think she’s courageous too because no doubt so many want to say “Get over it” and “That’s the way it’s always been.” Some of my quote unquote best friends tell me that. Her Picasso letter rides some of the same turf as my previous post Naked Women.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book No. 65

Making those prints prompted a remembrance of the road to that particular kind of reductive image making and what it meant to me. Above you see the cover of Book No. 65, my diary covering Dec 22, 1991 through March 2, 1992. I had been sick but was edging my way back. I wrote about part of that time via collage here, but there was a paint story too, a hidden pact. In the diary I made note of the Mondrian cover of simple black and white. I tell the diary that I still wish to make abstract paintings. I don’t know how I will get there, I just know that I still want to. The text was like a whisper.

Jesus, 1992. Unless you make work everyday, think of art everyday, live, talk, walk, it’s difficult to forge ahead. All on the back burner for years, unsaid but never forgotten. It took another ten years to arrive at the starting place for the forms I wanted to see, the assault I wished to make. When I read the journey, the paintings are more than paintings, as the collages are more than collages. It’s a life and death struggle because while everyone said I would get well, no one said “Keep your art dreams.”

I’m trying to come to some kind of terms on how I can share the diaries. Recently I heard a lot about how we only have so much time on earth. Personally, I don’t believe in death, but nonetheless I wouldn’t mind sharing before someone else comes along and does whatever to it. It’s possible I will just start another site, which starts right in 1969, first book. Nothing genius about those days, age 12 all the way, but to start elsewhere seems not quite right.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hodgkin at Gagosian

This is indeed a show to lust after, a reason to go to New York. I understand that the works take many years to make, occurring in layers of spontaneity vs. precision and time. When I first came across him he seemed like such a hidden marvel. I had never read about him. Sometimes that is the best way to reach something. No critics, no context, you find all about that later. This happened to me quite often my first few years in NYC, since I had no subscriptions to the art rags and this was long before the Internet. So I was naïve about many things, which meant NYC was one big discovery. Same with London when I saw the Dada and Surrealism Reviewed show at the Hayward. First time ever with a Hannah Höch or John Heartfield. That kind of introduction made certain artists feel personally mine.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fantasy vs. Reality

Coming back from Crow’s Shadow and Pendleton was one big crash into “reality.”

In another life, at least 2 boyfriends said I lived in a fantasy. I often wondered how they knew - and did they know how deep I was in? Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – fantasy beats reality, almost every single time. Putting reality into quotations like that reminds me of Malevich who said he was leaving “Dearly Beloved Reality” behind when he made the Black Square. But I digress…

All those 2 weeks went into creating proofs-to-print. Now that I am gone the master printer Frank Janzen will make the actual edition. I’ll post jpgs when that happens. I’m already looking forward to going back there, just to sign the things.

What has given me real pleasure since I‘ve been back is the preparation of the next show at the Independent, Randy Moe’s 1979. There’s much to say and I’m going to piece-meal it out here in this blog.

Above you see a portrait of Leonard MacKay (at least I think that was his last name – please correct me if I’m mistaken). Leonard was in a band with me -you can see a video of us here in 1980 – dressed all in white with the big puffy shirt. He was a blend of Mod and New Romantic, before that term or style had come to be. He was gorgeous and a great guitarist. You could never pin him down though. Now sadly I am an expert on the source of his behavior – addiction. He was quite clever about it though, as gorgeous men in their 20s can be. He went into hospitals, found scrubs and various uniforms, looked the part and stole the goods, whatever he needed. What was fantasy, what was reality, you couldn’t tell with him.

This was over 30 years ago. He’s no longer with us. This show, 1979, is full of interesting stories and characters.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Above is the final 4th proof. I could have created a whole suite of monochromes, but settled for one. The idea was to hedge pink, violet, orange and red together, so that they can blur into one. I did something similar with 60s/80s. I wanted something very hot, optimistic, female and even fashionable.

I started here at Crow's Shadow thinking the work would be more specific, but it became broader as I saw the possibilities. Really, I wish I could come here every year! There's more to be said.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Third Proof

I could say My Favorite So Far, but I'm not sure. Every piece here has been a real adventure, has said something different. And I still have one more to go. The above proof is related to pieces in The Richter Scale - especially Hot Spot and Clear Lake. What is really wild about this print is that from a distance, it turns pink. But there is no pink - your eye mixes the colors like crazy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Two Editions So Far

I walk along golden hills bristling with wheat, comparing endless expanses of yellow and blue. I take drives. I have a ton of freedom and not many responsibilities.

What are my responsibilities? What must I do today? Create a color story at Crow's Shadow. Attempt a red like the sky here the other night. Gee, life is tough.

It's great to see how different the second edition is from the first (both above). They are both based on yellow, chartreuse, red and green but read differently. The second one, on your right, has a rosey, almost purple vibe. But there was no blue laid into its makeup. And it flickers.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Above you see the progress towards the proofs. Neither is probably complete. The one on the left may take on a golden plate yet. And the one on the right is just a red/orange/yellow run and yes, it is a different palette than the one on the left.

As I imagined, we are doing things I could not do in paint.

Here you see the roller, full of the green/chartreuse run. And below you see how we plot out the blend by overlaying the inks.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Working Towards the Proof at Crow's Shadow

It’s taking quite awhile to get to that first proof. In oil painting you can add and take away so easily, but the print process takes careful planning. Above you see Frank Janzen with (Crow’s Shadow Interim director) Melissa Bob, are working on the plate. Then you see below the stretch of the palette. A fat yellow and a rich chartreuse will be at the center of this image, holding it all together.

Above and below you see how we methodically laid out where the bands of color would start and overlap each other, similar to how the colors in my paintings mesh and blur.

Then Frank rolled it all out. The plate of color is marvelous. It looks like a Rothko had he been more rhythmic or form-seeking. Or a Dan Flavin if you squint your eyes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day Two at Crow's Shadow

I recall James Lavadour telling me that when he learned printmaking his entire concept of how to make a painting changed. I wasn’t sure what would change for me, going into it, save to say that change is the only constant. I rely on it. And just two days into this venture, there’s a distant rumble.

Here at Crow’s Shadow we work with the master printer Frank Janzen. The artists arrive with ideas and visions and he finds the way. I was amazed at how many potential avenues there were to a single idea, all to be knocked down in our aim for the best result. We gain some things and lose some other things. Edges that were once perfect will not be. Conversely, some lines never achieved in my painting will in this print process.

It’s been suggested that my collages and paintings would someday meet. I don’t think so, not truly, but this glue-sticking stencils down to mylar was as close as I have ever gone. The shapes were indeed cut and pasted. I can’t say I understand the entire process, but the white and black forms caught my imagination. I am always creating forms with color; this was a different way of thinking. I started seeing things. My mother, who is an artist, told me many years ago that if you talk about it, you might not do it. So I won’t write too much about it. It’s nice to see it though.

Monday, October 10, 2011


When I finished the last piece of Drape, I ended with a searing golden band, so woven in dark edges some said it was like blonde hair. This struck me as an important development, a painting finally hedging in autobiographical territory. For years I knew I wanted to do it, I just wasn’t sure how.

This printmaking residency at Crow’s Shadow, funded in part by the Ford Family Foundation, is my way in, a break from the past in method while still entertaining the juice which preceded it. Juice: yellow, chartreuse, gold, gilded in black, alizarin crimson and viridian.

I couldn’t believe the drive as I approached the reservation – I’ve been to Pendleton before – how could I have forgotten the gold hills? Eventually I was surrounded, wrapped in yellow. It’s just meant to be. I walk outside and it's the first thing I see.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Artist Talk Tonight

Tonight the Independent will host an artist talk by Midori Hirose (work above) and Damien Gilley at 6PM sharp. Of course we're be open for First Thursday and then til the end of October.
May as well state here that I am on a six week break from Art Focus. Wendy Webb and Paige Prendergast (from Breeze Block) will be guest-hosting and I'm grateful for their help. KBOO is mainly run and hosted/produced/etc. by volunteers. In the meantime, I get to do this fab residency at Crow Shadow on the Umatilla reservation, making prints - something I've never done. I'm hoping to write about the experience here.