THE BODY WITHIN
Beneath changing skies, among restless shadows and on uncertain footing, life perseveres. Living organisms both fragile and resilient shimmer in the shifting light. The world serves as both womb and nemesis. Humans share this experience. Sublime forces act on us from both without and within. For each of us, fragile beautiful skin thinly envelops the body within. We are breathing, trembling beings. We are tenuous. We are powerful. We are vulnerable. We are feared. We are insignificant. We are dominant. We are alone. We are connected. We are protected. We protect.
I made a big plaster egg as a prop. The woman who posed for this drawing enveloped it with her arms. Her freckled skin had a sheen. A local grocery store sold me beautifully patterned tiny quail eggs. The spotted egg surfaces were like the model’s skin. Both the eggshells and the woman’s skin protect a body within. In turn, a fertile earth and thin layers of water and air protect us all. (2013, charcoal on paper, 30” x 30”, 76.2 cm x 76.2 cm, frame included)
PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST
The public perception of artists can at times lack empathy. As much as artists can be admired they can also be the object of derision. This drawing features a large piece of plate steel that is affixed to the frame backing and serves as the outermost motif in the octagonal portal through which the central figure peers. This steel piece serves as a framing element in the image so that the artist figure is entirely separated from the surrounding crowd. Technically this was a very complex piece to realize. I received no small amount of criticism concerning the final weight of this large artwork. I took some comfort from the fact that although pianos are heavy, people still play them. Compared with a piano, this framed drawing is refreshingly light. (1991, charcoal on paper and plate steel, 53” x 65”, 135 cm x 165 cm, frame included, sold)
Both celebrating and lampooning lustful inclinations, this piece combines an industrial-sized cake with very animated people. It is reasonable to speculate that these characters are involved not only with the production of the giant cake, but with its eventual consumption as well. The surrounding shoeprints are made by real boots and shoes, dipped in gouache and pressed onto the paper on which this drawing sits. The spectacle of these prints may not be very different from that observed on the floor of this chaotic kitchen, where chocolate batter and icing take over the décor in the frenzy of cake production.
Rosettes that appear to be metallic decorate the frame of this piece in the same manner as a cake would be decorated. They are made from resin mixed with nickel powder, cast from actual cake icing rosettes using delicately applied rubber molds. I had a French pastry chef squeeze out the rosettes onto acrylic trays, and then transported the trays to master technician and artist Mark Prent who applied the molds and produced the resin pieces to great effect. (1996, charcoal, gouache, and grey chalk on paper, 54” x 80”, 137.2 cm x 203.2 cm, frame included)