So join me in celebrating the arts and artists of Gowanus and take home a piece of original artwork from a local artist! I’m donating my painting Lifeworld 10 (2013):
Need I say that this is a rare and amazing opportunity to obtain one of my Lifeworld paintings at an amazing price?
By buying a ticket to the ArtWorks event you are buying a chance to “win” this fabulous painting along with 74 other great works made by artists working in Gowanus. Plus you’ll support the critical mission of Arts Gowanus to promote, support and advocate for local artists and a sustainable arts community in the Gowanus neighborhood. Here’s a link to some of the other artworks available.
In case the art isn’t appealing enough, don’t miss the food, drink and revelry.
This week’s featured painting is “Reach” — a triptych I created in 2012. This painting and some other square format paintings I created then were precursors to my Lifeworld series, and should almost be considered honorary members of the series.
This week’s featured work is a painting — actually a diptych (two paintings that form one work) titled “The House is Burning.”
The provocative title should make one think immediately of global warming – climate change. That’s certainly appropriate, but there’s even more to the story. Now seems like a good time feature this painting, since it appears that the house is not going to stop burning anytime soon.
So– The direct inspiration for this title is the famous “Parable of the Burning House” that appears in the Lotus Sutra — one of the most important religious texts of Mahayana Buddhism. Here is an excerpt (lightly abridged) from the parable (Burton Watson translation):
“Suppose that in a certain town in a certain country there was a very rich man. He was far along in years and his wealth was beyond measure. He had many fields, houses and menservants. His own house was big and rambling, but it had only one gate. A great many people … lived in the house. The halls and rooms were old and decaying, the walls crumbling, the pillars rotten at their base, and the beams and rafters crooked and aslant.
“At that time a fire suddenly broke out on all sides, spreading through the rooms of the house. The sons of the rich man, ten, twenty, perhaps thirty, were inside the house. When the rich man saw the huge flames leaping up on every side, he was greatly alarmed and fearful and thought to himself, I can escape to safety through the flaming gate, but my sons are inside the burning house enjoying themselves and playing games, unaware, unknowing, without alarm or fear. The fire is closing in on them, suffering and pain threaten them, yet their minds have no sense of loathing or peril and they do not think of trying to escape!
“This rich man thought to himself, I have strength in my body and arms. I can wrap them in a robe or place them on a bench and carry them out of the house. And then again he thought, This house has only one gate, and moreover it is narrow and small. My sons are very young, they have no understanding, and they love their games, being so engrossed in them that they are likely to be burned in the fire. I must explain to them why I am fearful and alarmed. The house is already in flames and I must get them out quickly and not let them be burned up in the fire!
“Having thought in this way, he followed his plan and called to all his sons, saying, ‘You must come out at once!’ But though the father was moved by pity and gave good words of instruction, the sons were absorbed in their games and unwilling to heed him. They had no alarm, no fright, and in the end no mind to leave the house. Moreover they did not understand what the fire was, what the house was, what danger was. They merely raced about this way and that in play and looked at their father without heeding him.
“At that time the rich man had this thought: The house is already in flames from this huge fire. If I and my sons do not get out at once, we are certain to be burned. I must now invent some expedient means that will make it possible for the children to escape harm. …
I’ll stop there and not get into how the father managed to get his children out of the house. The parable is a powerful one. To me, it aptly describes the present human condition.
Yes, indeed, the house is burning. Will we notice? Will we get out?
The Lifeworld project continues, and I’ve recently published definitive photographs of the latest paintings in the series. Here they are:
So I’m making [slow] progress toward my goal of 108 Lifeworld paintings. To read more about the Lifeworld project, click here, and to see all the Lifeworld paintings completed so far, visit my flickr album here. As always, Lifeworld paintings are for sale. Contact me for more information.
Hello everyone from frigid New York City on this Valentine’s Day 2016!
I’ve been retooling my studio set-up and finally (last weekend) completed the first* second oil painting of 2016 (and the next in the Lifeworld series). So here we have it:
Lifeworld 36 continues the adventure. I’ve also been exploring the ever important topic of studio safety and reducing toxicity in oil painting. I’ll write up more of my findings on that topic soon. In the meantime, enjoy the paintings and stay warm!
*actually, the first oil painting of 2016 is this little sketch (below) – a trial balloon for a suite of paintings I’m planning that are inspired by the Fontanelle cemetery in Napoli, Italy.
Sorry for the last-minute announcement, but this all came together very quickly: I’m pleased to let you know that I will have work included in a show at the Old Stone House in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The show opens TONIGHT (October 15), 6-8pm.
About the show:
Nature is often bent to man’s needs and wants. The Gowanus Canal was once a marshland and now has been channeled and distorted into the managed and controlled canal that it is today. Once messy and natural, it is now contained.
Similarly, the paintings, collages, and photographs in this exhibit all begin with nature-based subject matter. Through the art-making process, that subject or motif is interpreted, distorted, and adapted to become something else entirely. In some, the original image is completely hidden, sometimes it is still clear.
All of these artworks grapple with the role of nature in our man-made world.
Curated by Abby Subak, Director of Arts Gowanus.
The Old Stone House is at 336 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215.
Happy October everyone! Gowanus Open Studios takes over Brooklyn in less than 2 weeks (October 16-18) and I’m involved in several exciting events during that weekend.
The Studio Tour weekend starts Friday October 16 with Beat Nite Gowanus, a Norte Maar production. I’m pleased that Gowanus Swim Society – the neighborhood artists collective I’m a part of – has been included in the Beat Nite Gowanus Gallery walk. The event runs from 6-10 pm Friday night. Come by Halyards Bar to get a preview of Gowanus Swim’s show Telestrations! See all the details on the Beat Nite Gowanus website!
Gowanus Open Studios starts in earnest on Saturday, October 17. Studios throughout the neighborhood will be open from 12 noon to 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday, October 18. Find me in my studio at Brooklyn Art Space, at 168 7th Street, 3rd floor (that’s between 2nd and 3rd avenues, Brooklyn).
On Saturday night Gowanus Swim Society hosts Telestrations, the official Gowanus Open Studios Saturday night party! See more of my art along with work by all of the Swim Society plus specially curated video and performance and live bands! The party runs from 6pm to 4am. The party is at Halyards, 3rd Avenue and 6th Street (Brooklyn, of course). All the details are on the Facebook event page.
Whew! It will be a busy weekend! I hope to see all of you somewhere along the way!
It’s been a busy summer and I’m pleased to have recently sold some paintings.
First Manomayakaya #2 (pictured above), was sold, then this lovely watercolor:
There are several places online where you can see my artwork, besides this blog: First my website, then for a more comprehensive catalog, my flickr page. I am offering smaller, more affordable works, such as “Red” pictured above, through my Etsy store.
Check out all the great work and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, or info about pricing or availability.
My apologies – It’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve posted a “featured painting.” Life has a way of happening.
But better late than never! This week I’m featuring Lifeworld 2, an intriguing work from 2012 — one of the very early pieces in my ongoing Lifeworld Series. Lifeworld 2 is now available in my Square store. I am offering free shipping anywhere in the United States. If you’re in the New York City area and would like to see the piece, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
Lifeworlds is a long-range painting project I started in 2012. The project started initially out of a desire to explore the square format in painting. The inspiration for this was not Instagram as one might easily suppose, but the square format Landscape paintings of Gustav Klimt. I then chanced upon the evocative term “Lifeworld” in the philosophical writings of Edmund Husserl and from the confluence of these two streams the project was born.
Now, three years into the project, Lifeworlds continues to evolve and develop. I decided early on that I would continue to make square format paintings under the title of “Lifeworld” until I felt that I had exhausted the possibilities of the format entirely.
In reality, the possibilities of this form may never be exhausted. Therefore, I thought it best to put a cap on it: so the idea arose to work toward the completion of 108 paintings.
Why 108? Those who know me and have followed my work for a while will also know of my interest in Buddhism, and the influence it’s had on my work. 108 is the number of prayer beads in the Buddhist japa mala (a Buddhist rosary). The number is given various meanings in Buddhist cosmology and additionally simply refers to any proverbial big number in the same way that a “myriad” (literally Greek for “10,000”) has come to stand in for anything large and virtually uncountable. So, instead of making some infinite number of paintings, I will make 108 to represent that infinity.
Since one of the uses of a rosary or japa mala is to count repetitions of chants or prayers, a nice thing about the number 108 is that it emphasizes how the project becomes a kind of prayer or meditation on the artistic process, and on the artist’s relationship with his environment — what I’m calling a Lifeworld.
So, I see each Lifeworld as a snapshot of a particular state of mind formed when the artist encounters his subject. Although frequently quite abstract, each painting results from the process of observing my surroundings. The square is both the container for the composition and also one of its principal motifs.
As of this writing, the newest Lifeworld pieces are numbers 32, 33 and 34, all completed earlier this year. The precise imagery continues to evolve and shift, all the while remaining within the parameters of the project: square format and 20″ x 20″ (around 51cm2 — 50.8cm to be exact) in size.
A small note about the size: there are a couple of early Lifeworlds, numbers 5 and 7, that are actually 24×24″ (60cm2). I was still experimenting with the parameters at this stage; I may end up going back and redoing these to fit the program.
So a big project like this needs help, which leads me to …
How you can help:
A big project and entails certain tangible challenges to the artist (not to mention all the intangible challenges!), not least of which are the cost of materials, the cost of studio space (ever-increasing in New York City) and the potential storage costs (108 paintings take up a lot of space!).
So I’m reaching out to you — dear audience! There are several ways you can help:
1. Lifeworlds are for sale! Some have sold already. Prices currently run from $800 to $1,200 for each painting. If you would like to see or purchase a painting (or two or three), contact me. I do hope to mount an exhibition of all or a selection of the paintings in the future — and how cool would it be for you to have a painting that you own in a major retrospective of my work!
2.I accept tips, donations, contributions … etc. If you’re not up to purchasing a painting at the present time, you can also contribute any amount (no matter how small) toward the project through Venmo (the best! No fees for you or me!) or by clicking the paypal donate button below. The arts has always existed through the kind generosity of its patrons.
Wow, if you’ve read this far, I really appreciate your interest. A brief outline of the project (as well as some images) is available on my website, and all of the Lifeworlds can be viewed together on my flickr account. I’ll continue to post future developments here. Stay tuned!