First and foremost, a huge thank you to Apartment Therapy's Tess Wilson for featuring my veggie sketches a few weeks back! You can read her post here.
In other news, I am going to be in a group show at One Mile Gallery in Kingston, NY that opens this Saturday, July 7. The fabulous Wendy Cohen has put together a great show called "Six Degrees" that I'm thrilled to be a part of. The only constraint she set up was that the pieces had to be relatively small and under $500. There is something about working small that is so freeing-- maybe because there's less at risk in terms of burning through materials (I can just hear that voice in my head saying "Don't mess up this enormous sheet of pristine paper!"), or maybe because the small paper size simulates a sketch book, which is synonymous with new ideas and experimentation.
Anyway, I spent a chunk of time in Maine earlier in the month, and it was very much an artist's residency sort of situation. My friend Peter and I set up a "work hard, play hard" agenda for the week: we cranked on our work from the crack of dawn until lunchtime, and then spent the afternoons hiking, swimming, kayaking, and so forth. My favorite thing to do is walk the coast and the woods, and gather as I go. I was out for hours collecting wildflowers, shells, stones, seaweed, sticks, mushrooms, urchins...
When I stepped back from these collections, I realized that there was a mixture of the living and the dead: daisies and dried seaweed, columbines and broken shells. The combination of the two reminded me of the old vanitas or memento mori paintings, particularly those Flemish still lifes that featured glistening, voluptuous fruits and audaciously blooming flowers alongside skulls and freshly killed game. The idea of the the dead objects as symbols of mortality, tempering the exhuberance of the living things, appealed to the cynical side of me, and I decided to set up some still lifes of my own. My pieces ended up more like botanical illustrations than cluttered tables overflowing with symbolic objects, but the message is nonetheless largely the same. Here are the three Memento Mori watercolors I did in Maine:
They will be on view at One Mile Gallery for the month of July. I also have a couple of collages in the show:
I just can't seem to get away from those fairy rings! But the memento mori series is my current obsession, and I hope to be able to post a few more drawings in the coming days. In the meantime, happy 4th of July!