The Three Graces Ride the D Train

In the last half of 1984, I was living in the Bronx and riding the D train on a daily basis. One day heading home, I saw three teenage girls grabbing and releasing a subway pole while shifting their weight in a manner that resembled a choreographed dance. I immediately thought of Sandro Botticelli’s 15th century painting of the Three Graces in his “Primavera”. Since I was using silhouetted figures and had embarked on a modern-day version of Greek mythology in my paintings at that time (i.e., a painting from 1983, “Venus Visits Manhattan” was the first I exhibited in NYC in 1984), the scene had to become inspiration for a resist painting. The painting itself is wax crayon on paper, with an India ink wash resist.

When Is a Window Not A Window?

When Is A Window Not A Window?
oil resist on wood; 1987; 25.5 x 25.5 in

In 1987 I did a series of pieces on wood and masonite with the purpose of incorporating the built-in frames as an inherent part of the paintings. The idea was that gaps left between the edge of the frame and the piece proper would allow the wall color to become part of the work itself.

In this piece, the irregular gaps create a rhythm that moves around the piece and adds to the gestural action of the scraped, biomorphic rectangle. Parts of the center were left as raw wood, which is altering its color through the aging process.

The name of the piece refers to my early school days, when a classroom window was a doorway or a portal, if you will, to my daydreams — the answer to the title question.

Honk If You Love Euclid

 

HonkIfYouLoveEuclid
oil and wax resist on paper, 1988; 24 x 24 in

This piece epitomizes the type of work I was making in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Namely, it’s a square format; a resist (here, oil and wax resisting India ink) on printmaking paper; makes use of metallic tones (here, gold) and reflects my ongoing interest in the creative connection between science and art.  This title obviously refers to the Greek mathematician Euclid, who is often called the Father of Modern Geometry.  The composition has two prominent and one implied triangles: the purple somewhat equilateral triangle slightly up from the center, the black triangle visually created in the lower right by the dissecting green-blue line, and the gold implies a triangle that will complete itself if the blue line were to continue until it meets the left and right edges. The painting was exhibited in New York in 1989, and is currently in the show, Grand Installations at the BWAC Gallery in Brooklyn until Oct. 15, 2017.

UPDATE: This painting was purchased at the opening.