Thursday, December 18, 2008

Palma de Mallorca, Carrer de Santiago Rusñol

Are you sick of seeing these images yet? Well, I'm not - here's another goody from Palma de Mallorca. This is a rare find because it shows three adjacent walls in a city block. There was a high fixed-in-cement barrier in front of the theatre-like display so I could not photograph freely. I have included a few decent shots taken with my arm stuck through the muslin!

Don't you just love the multiple stair cases leading to...?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Muro, Mallorca...another ruin

Today is another beautiful December Sunday in Mallorca. With some time alone I wandered my village to uncover neglected nooks. This particular house pictured above gives me déjàvu of snooping around the ruins behind my grandparents' house in Gloucester, MA.

My brothers and I used to go out into their back woods and trespass on the dangerous rotting staircases. The peculiar thing about these former dwellings here is that you don't need to go far to find them- they are abundant and nestled in with renovated and modern homes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Drawing or Painting?

I always like to document my 'under-paintings' which are more drawings than paintings I suppose. These images are important because if I go too far with subsequent layers, I can see what I want to reclaim. I have found some wonderful black paint-pens that are more opaque than Sharpie markers and allow me to draw into my paintings. You can see the photo I took to compose this painting in an earlier post (Urban Archeology). Stay tuned for the imminent changes in this piece.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mallorcan Façades- Abstract Interpretations...

I had an intense casting day yesterday. I'm playing with facade-like compositions, but with an abstract positioning of the textures and forms.

Like the other plaster casts, the impressions here are made with discarded construction materials and other recycled objects.

The difference here though is the scale- it's tricky, but I want to cast much larger blocks then reassemble them in different compositions.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Welcome to Mallorca

I haven't posted in a little while.  However the Mallorcan sun has beckoned me back to the terrace to cast plaster tiles. I also have more paintings in the works. I will be able to share more new things very soon.

Those of you aware may be wondering what happened with my 'big deadline'...Well, after a lot of hard work and cranking out the creativity, I was disqualified based on my age. Yes - it was disappointing for a few minutes (maybe an hour and a half).

All I can say is WELCOME TO MALLORCA! And to quote a savvy restauranteur I know, "Mallorca is a peculiar place full of peculiar people who do peculiar things".

Well, I win anyway. That deadline gave me the push I needed to embark on the new body of work I have been ruminating over for a long time. I am really into it and cannot wait to share it with the public.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Urban Archeology - Arqueología Urbana

Shortly after moving to Mallorca I began to document the abundant activity in the construction and destruction of properties on the island. I still observe the antique mixing with the modern, sometimes harmoniously, sometimes in conflict.

What piques my curiosity most are the façades left behind after the demolition of a neighboring building. For a few short months, one can see the imprint left on the walls of lives once lived. It is a cross-section of changing generations of ownership.
By capturing these views before they are covered for another span of time, I attempt to depict contemporary artifacts obscured by civilization and progress. I mimic this process in my works by using discarded construction materials and painting over my own paintings.

What you are reading is the written portion of a proposal I just sent out for a juried show in Palma. I have been preparing for the opportunity for 6 months. And although the competition is certainly not a punctuation mark, I feel that I have already won- deadlines are great motivators!

Arqueología Urbana

Poco después de venir a vivir a Mallorca empecé a documentar la abundante actividad en la construcción y destrucción dentro de la isla. Aún observo lo antiguo mezclándose con lo moderno, a veces armoniosamente, otras en conflicto.

Lo que pica mi curiosidad es que la mayoria de las fachadas dejaron trás de sí la demolición del edificio colindante. Durante unos pocos meses, uno puede ver la imprenta dejada en las paredes de los que una vez vivieron allí. Es una muestra representativa de los cambios generacionales de la propiedad. Al capturar estas vistas antes de que sean recubiertas por otro lapso del tiempo, intento plasmar los artefactos contemporáneos obscurecidos por la civilización y el progreso. Imito este proceso en mis obras usando materiales descartados por la construcción y cubriendo antiguas obras mías.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Piso Tres Plantas, Inca Mallorca

Another battle of the paintings! Thanks to those who helped last week. I would like to include only one of these two large scale works (approx. 4 X 5.5 feet) in my proposal going off tomorrow.
What's your gut feeling? The one above (needs a few more touches) Inca 3- Story, or below, Escavation in Málaga? The bottom image is a bit washed out- try to visualize it with darker blacks. Thanks!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fossil, Pollensa & other casts

I'm looking for a quick opinion: I need to add one of these two versions to a proposal this week. Tell me- which is stronger: the brown or blue-grey version?

These are interpretations of the imprint left from a torn-down building in historic Pollensa, Mallorca. They are approximately 24 X 24 inches square - each composed of 4 plaster relief tiles cast from clay carvings I made. I have posted drawings of this image before (see August posts on Pollensa Facade).

Above and below are two individual castings (8X10in.) I finished this week as well; they are more abstract, made with remnants of building materials found on the side of the road.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A New Facade- a new series

I finally darted out last night to document this beauty in Inca. I had been getting nervous that it would disappear behind scaffolding and newly cast cement pillars. Alas, I got it- it's sooo good - there are lots of different tiles and marble elements remaining. The arches under the staircases add a nice design twist.

Give me a few weeks, or months to transform this inspiration into new works! Even Malena sucked in her breath when we pulled over- she really gets her mama.

It would be interesting to find the people who used to inhabit these imaginary walls- just to let them know someone still cares!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Clean Slate

High on the joy of finishing the set of "Habitaciones" paintings I just finished, I sought out more panels of the same size to continue the series...and found another sacrifice to the wheel of painting life - a very labored painting from 2002 of ferns morphing into spinal columns. I am not sure I have ever even exhibited this piece, but too late now!

Is this tendency recycling or more of an artistic Darwinism? The survival of the newest?

NEW WORK: First Floor, Rooms 1,2,3 &4

Piso 1° Planta, Habitaciones 1, 2, 3, y 4 / First Floor Apartment, Rooms 1,2,3, and 4
(Acrylic, fiberglas patching compound, permanent marker, 41 X 51 cm/ea. 2008)

The intention of this series is that the one can arrange the individual paintings in various compositions of 'rooms' and the image still works as a whole. The first arrangement is true to the original building. This second one is mixed.

Above and below are views of two of the individual paintings. More are in the works. Imagine a cluster of 6 or 8 on the wall!

By the way, these four panels were formerly homes to paintings in the Immersion series.

Escavation In Málaga, finished

I posted a draft of this piece a while back - I believe it is finished now. Seeing it here, out of context, I think I will continue to try to document it, as the top half is a bit washed-out.

Tell, what are your thoughts of the wood grain combined with the imagery of masonry and cement structures? I'm curious...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Layer number ?

My niece said she really liked the pieces in the last post- well, I am pleased, however you have to be fast with me because I love LAYERS.  In this post you can see they have mostly been covered up.  

In fact, most of the new work I am creating at the moment is painted on top of other paintings I felt were less successful or that I just got tired of looking at. This approach is cost effective and supports well the concept of urban archeology and the removal and addition of layers of 'influence'. 

The temporary, yet cyclical nature of everything is what inspires me. For example, the images upon which these paintings are based need to be taken quickly, soon after I spot them from a car or train window - because very soon a new building will be erected in their place. These cross sections of a life once-lived are fleeting.

These two (above and below) are details of a larger piece. 
So, next time you like a piece, you might consider making a bid before it continues on it's cycle and takes on a new life!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pilgrim's Progress

I am ten days away from an important deadline, so I am doing more painting and carving than posting these days. Alas, here are two 'underpaintings' of dismantled Mallorcan facades.

This second image is washed-out, but I can't re-shoot it as the painting has already been transformed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yes, I am working...

I know I haven't been posting a lot, but that certainly doesn't mean I'm not working. Quite the contrary. I am so in the zone, stopping to blog seems tedious! The newest work is in full process. Including these two large scale illustrations, soon-to-be paintings, on wood panel. These are just 'tease' pics. As the work evolves, I will show more!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I think I'm getting closer

Ok, the pure white of the Nevelson vibe was diminishing the subtle textures of these pieces, as they do not have very deep relief. I was missing the tones of the clay and earth. This color palette feels more right. I am looking for a fossil feel. Perhaps I still need to lower the contrast.

These samples are purely abstract, made with found construction materials and old rusted things pressed into the clay. I have just cast some larger pieces which are more literal 'illustrations' in clay of scenes photographed around Mallorca. They are still wet and not ready to paint.


Look at the interesting result when graffiti is painted and patched over at the elementary school! These are the types of images I shoot almost daily in my own brand of Mallorca's urban archeology.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cosas del Pueblo (Village Matters)

As a study in contrasts, I want to share a special experience I had last night here my village, Muro, Mallorca. Firstly, it helps to know that I am reading a book called Ghosts of Spain: Travels through Spain and its Silent Past by Giles Trimlett, given to me recently by a friend in Brooklyn. It is not only teaching me about the transition from Franco's dictatorship to modern Spain, but it's also helping me better understand some of the cultural differences I face each day. Just yesterday morning I read about the code of silence kept for many years regarding the numerous civil war murders and unmarked graves. The author attempted to pry information from a grand-daughter of the former Republican leadership about the deaths of three women in her town. Rather than discuss versions of the past from a right or left political standpoint, she wanted to keep the conversation brief, calling such things 'cosas del pueblo' (village matters).

I have definitely been confronted with the insular nature of relationships and gossip from pueblo to pueblo in my 4 short years in Mallorca. I have struggled with finding people who are willing to let me in. The Mallorquin villages are so strongly knit, they not only have different accents, but even have different words for the same vocabulary in two towns only a few miles apart. So, I smirked when I read the phrase, cosas del pueblo.

At about ten p.m., we heard the familiar sound of the tambor percussion group in the street. They can be heard each Tuesday night from afar, practicing in the parking lot of the local train station. But this time the drum beats were very close - just outside our house. Jose and I realized instantly who they were for - we had just discovered that a beloved local highschool student has been diagnosed with bone cancer at age 17. The tambor group came to his door and pulled him out of his home, slung his tambor over his shouldter as he propped himself up on crutches. The serenade was all the more poignant, as Nadal himself participated.

We put a bathrobe on Malena and rushed out to join the intimate crowd. The song ended and we hung back in the darkness to watch Nadal's classmates and fellow bandsmen embrace him one by one. With heavy hearts, we walked back home. At that moment one thought came to my mind, cosas del pueblo.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Luis' Billboard Textures

Aren't these wonderful? My friend Luis went on a texture hunt around Brooklyn and sent me tons of great images. This small selection shows the layered evidence of years of billboards pasted on top of one another and torn down - it appears that they may have been sanded-down as well. YUMilicious!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Nevelson Similarities

I don't think I have posted them as of yet, but I have also been documenting the process of new construction, not just the fossils that are left after older buildings are torn down. This one above and below are actually my neighbor's property. I am working on some drawings based on these totem-like towers used for casting cement columns.

THEN! yesterday on my Louise Nevelson walk down memory lane, look what I saw...

These are zinc-plate prints. And just what I want to get from my plaster casts of the images I am collecting and drawing. 
And, don't they remind you a bit of the open-boxes I have posted many times?