Way Out West of the Mississippi River


 1. First picture - "Mondrian's Snowshovel in The Villa of Mysteries" 1984 - oil on canvas 2. "A Map of the  History of My Career on Panties" 1996 acrylic on canvas 3. Swan on VW Hubcap - after 2000 acrylic on ,laser print on hubcap.

Start Here - Way out west of the Mississippi River (A blog after some time passed) I wanted my blogs to be like my thinking. This sometimes is possible when I find a groove I can write in often not, my desire to make sense of myself has diminished as I've grown old. Indeed I often find even people I like are hard for me to connect with I sorted of painted myself into a corner. I used to think it had to do with my acquisition of knowledge that I just read too much studied too much and created myself as a person isolated by knowing yet not knowing many not usual things. As if my pursuit of my art had taken me on quite a mystery ride through this life. 

 As a youth I had enormous ambition and art was to be my choice of medium for this ambition to play out. However I came into conflict with some limitations . First I was very poor, second I was most likely bi-polar and third I was lost. Lost in my desires, lost in this headlong pursuit of fine art, art that would be forever beautiful, profound and true! The various collisions with harsh realities never tamed me from my desire to be immortal. I know this was as I wrote at the beginning some sort of religious or spiritual desire given the mortal coil and a simple understanding that you must get to it quickly as time is measured out very precisely in creative endeavors . The mood of creation s fragile as Yeats wrote but it is also deeply mortal painters don't paint after death though they may influence the living by example. For me Manet is still alive. Duchamp is alive in so many new works by others and new thoughts. The idea that influence is the  immortality we seek, also drives the artist to make something that persists as thought as idea long after the life of the artist has passed.

Now the stories of the pictures illustrating this blog.

  1. "Mondrian's Snowshovel in The Villa of Mysteries" 1984 -oil and canvas 66 X 72" this painting was half of a pair of paintings made simultaneously under a sub-title of Bi-Polar Disorders exhibited at the Medium West Gallery in 1985. The idea was Piet Mondrian calling Marcel Duchamp to obtain a snowshovel (readymade 1915 a sculpture bought in a hardware store in New York City) Mondrian paints the snowshovel red yellow and blue his signature colors.It's a fiction of course but based on their art works and that they were both immigrant artists living in New York City at the same time. May I add two of my most favorite artists with an intellectual turn of mind and vision. The Villa of Mysteries is a very famous site in Pompei of  mural paintings involving the Dionysiac mystery religion.Again these are some of my most favorite antique paintings. Hence the painting tries to depict the origins of my peculiar desire for the ancient and modern arts in combinations. The Mondrian's Snowshovel motif appears in many other works of this period, including a large collage in the collection of the Walker Art Center. The painting is in the Collection of Grinnell College in Iowa I've only seen it once since it was sold but I do think it can be very inspiring in many ways. For me it's a buoy in the deep waters of my art life that reminds that too far out is just the start of going deeper.

2. " A Map of My Pathetic Career on Panties" 1996 acrylic on canvas 4 X 4' - Again the idea of too far out, so far that you need a map to find your way back. Again history personal history is an inspiration for this peculiar map painting. Some of it actual some of it fictional some of it perfected some of it ordinary. Like a scorecard in a baseball game the players here are institutions and individuals who at points in my life were locations actual and imaginary. I asked a poet once if poetry was fiction? She didn't really have a satisfactory answer. What I thought is that poetry becomes non-fiction in it's expression but all art is fictive it imitates life and our living life. This painting was about poetry about names. language ideas about words that inhabit art and the art world. Make no doubt about it I expected to be more a part of something than I was , for many reasons I lived outside the mainstream outside the marketplace on a frontier ( out West of the Mississippi), in a place where winter is the ocean we live in that winter over and over. The deep cold the deep darkness of nearly Canada our neighbor to the North, our frontier . So again the painting is a map of one's failings one's small successes one's humaness.

 3. The Swan - I found the Swan image on an Art Nouveau advertisement , on a can. I like it as a symbol of serenity of peace understanding the persistence of beauty in a violent chaotic world. Also it's so perfect in it's form readymade I've used it many times in paintings collages prints etc. I never tire of this image, I give it away I possess it . It's just so perfect so French so Proust so forever swanny.