Something very last minute — My art during Gowanus Open Studios

Hello everyone!  I had not planned to show any work during this year’s Gowanus Open Studios (happening this weekend, October 20-22), but a last minute opportunity presented itself.

Abby Subak, Director of Arts Gowanus, reached out to artists who formerly had studios in Gowanus, and asked us to participate as “Gowanus Emeritus Artists” in the “Silent Auction & Garden Party: One Piece Per Artist GOS 2017” show at 313 Butler Gallery.

So — my piece, “View from beneath the surface #1” will be included in the show.   The event, a silent auction, happens Saturday night, October 21 from 5-9 at 313 Butler Gallery, at 313 Butler Street in Brooklyn, New York.  The art remains up through November 13.

“View from beneath the surface 1,” oil on canvas, 12″ diameter, 2014.

The full event description can be found on Facebook, here.

Artworks: A Benefit for Arts Gowanus

I’m pleased to announce that, once again, I will be contributing to this year’s ArtWorks — a benefit for Arts Gowanus!

This year’s event happens Thursday, May 11, 2017, 7 – 10 pm at Shapeshifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn, NY 11215.  I will be there!

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):

“Lifeworld 10,” oil on canvas, 20×20″, 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.

Tickets are on sale now, $250 single, $300 for couple, which entitles you to one original work of art… Click here to buy tickets!

Ticket sales are limited, so act fast!

Featured painting of the week

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.

“Reach” (triptych), oil on canvas, 20″ x approx 60″. 2012
“Reach” detail, 2012.
“Reach” detail, 2012.
“Reach” detail, 2012.

Featured painting of the week: The House is Burning

This week’s featured work is a painting — actually a diptych (two paintings that form one work) titled “The House is Burning.”

"The House is Burning", mixed media on canvas, 30"x44", 2012.
“The House is Burning”, mixed media on canvas, 30″x44″, 2012.

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?

New Lifeworld paintings online

The Lifeworld project continues, and I’ve recently published definitive photographs of the latest paintings in the series.  Here they are:

"Lifeworld 36," oil/mixed media on canvas, 20x20", 2016
“Lifeworld 36,” oil/mixed media on canvas, 20×20″, 2016
"Lifeworld 37," oil/mixed media on canvas, 20x20", 2016,
“Lifeworld 37,” oil/mixed media on canvas, 20×20″, 2016.
"Lifeworld 38," oil/mixed media on canvas, 20x20", 2016.
“Lifeworld 38,” oil/mixed media on canvas, 20×20″, 2016.
"Lifeworld 39," oil on canvas, 20x20", 2016
“Lifeworld 39,” oil on canvas, 20×20″, 2016.

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.

A new year well underway, Lifeworlds continues

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 firstsecond oil painting of 2016 (and the next in the Lifeworld series).  So here we have it:

Lifeworld 36, oil/mixed media on canvas, 20x20" (51x51cm), 2016
Lifeworld 36, oil/mixed media on canvas, 20×20″ (51x51cm), 2016
A detail shot of Lifeworld 36
A detail shot of Lifeworld 36

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!

The new painting on the easel chez moi
The new painting on the easel chez moi

*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.

A quick sketch to check out the new painting setup, January 2016
A quick sketch to check out the new painting setup, January 2016

Breaking News: De-Natured, at the Old Stone House

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.

Lifeworld 21, oil on canvas, 20x20", 2014.
Lifeworld 21, oil on canvas, 20×20″, 2014, by John Azelvandre

Gowanus Open Studios is almost here!

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).

"Lifeworld 33", oil on canvas, 20x20in., 2015.
“Lifeworld 33”, oil on canvas, 20x20in., 2015.

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.

"Transatlantic train to nowhere", mixed media, 20x20", 2015. Included in Gowanus Swim's show "Telestrations" at Halyards
“Transatlantic train to nowhere”, mixed media, 20×20″, 2015. Included in Gowanus Swim’s show “Telestrations” at Halyards

Whew! It will be a busy weekend!  I hope to see all of you somewhere along the way!

Recently sold

It’s been a busy summer and I’m pleased to have recently sold some paintings.

oil on canvas, 30x30", 2012
“Manomayakaya #2″, oil on canvas, 30×30”, 2012

First Manomayakaya #2 (pictured above), was sold, then this lovely watercolor:

"Red", Watercolor on paper, 6x6", 2011.
“Red”, Watercolor on paper, 6×6″, 2011.

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.

Featured Painting of the Week: Lifeworld 2

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!

Lifeworld 2, oil on canvas, 20x20in., 2012.
Lifeworld 2, oil on canvas, 20x20in., 2012.