In the Studio #77

I finally finished my fourth painting in the Gnostic Confessions series this last Friday, a sort of birthday present to myself. The piece was very tricky to work and I’m not exactly happy with all of the effects that are in it, but I am very relieved that it turned out decently.

These Gnostic Confession pieces are an attempt on my part to refine a super dense painting method that I’ve used for years. It’s my hope that by adding some iconographic effects (colors, themes, subject matter, compositional design) employed in Christian Orthodox painting, that I can add an increased level of spectacle to my already carnivalesque technique. My efforts to date are not without risks since it’s easy to make a dogs-breakfast when adding more and more stuff to a painting. I have to say I’ve always danced on this edge of too much stuff, in fact usually I drive right off the cliff of too much stuff. It is for this reason that I’ve tried to incorporate other painting idioms to my repertoire which are more about balance, such as the other major series I worked on this last week, “Malik’s B-Boy Blues”.

This duo of paintings are my effort to respond to the turgid racial animus in the country right now by exploring the disposable nature of black bodies and of shifting gender norms. The piece will feature a paper-doll cut out of bodybuilding drag queen flanked by the original black drag queen William Dorsey Swann. These figures in turn will be surrounded by dancing angel slave posters and pistol packing pornstars. This duet will when it’s done perhaps be a too on-the- nose commentary on black masculinity, again driving a concept right off the cliff, but that’s my method. Pushing a concept way to far to see where it takes me.

Here are some of the slave posters I found at the Library of Congress website that I’m using for my dancing angle slave poster paper dolls.

I been vacillating between abstract pieces, astronomical or botanical scenery and I’m heartened that my tiny fan base out there seem to appreciate what I’ve put out in the world. I’ve received sales and encouragement for just about all the work I’ve done lately and it’s given me the personal fuel, or go-juice I need to keep going. While at work recently for example a client of mine, the lovely Laurel Huber, sent an image of my work “Spring in Emmaus” hanging in her dining room and it was so nice to see again. I work an often grueling service job so little moments like that really lifted my spirits and make me feel like I am on the right path, and that painting risky large ambitious works of art can pay off. Here’s the image that Laurel sent me a few days ago.

One of my favorite bands, the Deftones, released a new record a few weeks back. It’s called “Ohms” and it’s pretty awesome. I’m still digesting the record so I don’t have many favorite songs yet but the first single,”Genesis” is pretty emblematic of the album. I also found myself going back to Khruangbin to relax when I came home from work these last few weeks. The one track I can listen to over and over is from their most recent record Mordechai and is called “Shida”. Here are the Youtube videos of these songs.

This next few weeks are going to be fun for me in the studio because I can finally move into territory I’ve been slow to address for some weeks and months. In addition to finishing the Malik’s B-Boy Blues piece I plan to finally finish Adela’s Bouquet and start some new large landscape pieces. One specifically of my friend Jill Prout’s farm. I think its going to be a while before I do large abstract paintings, especially in the Gnostic Confessions series, because they take so much time to get right. As I move into this Fall botanical phase I’ll be sure to provide my updates here. Until then do be well and stay safe.

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