PARADISE \ PARADISE LOST
GOOD BYE SUGAR
ART MAUI REJECT
THE ARTIST AND THE NEWS
This installation is set in a special 6’x6’ formal museum style room with a framed horizontal flat screen. Viewers will have earphones for hearing sounds and music
*NOTE: The Artist & the News may accompany my second, complementary submission, 'The Artist & the Muse', in the same room, or stand alone. Each set of images, uniquely evocative, provocative, and stunning in its authenticity, carries its own meaning; their juxtaposition creates an entirely different composition and viewer experience.
For years, I have been systematically collecting photographs* from the New York Times, some so incredible I scan and print them on canvas. Then a piece of music or an opera comes to mind.
As news is documented, tragic events grow long shadows, sometimes holding a still, eerie beauty for outsiders looking in. This installation examines the transformation that can occur in a single image; it is a rebirthing of media through texture and sound. A horizontal screen presents contemporary New York Times Newspaper photographs displaying the power and passion of the human spirit in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. These newsprint images are captured with the quality and majesty of the old masters paintings and I offer them for re-viewing as such. As they roll through a gilded frame, guided by operatic melodies, their humanity is revealed as the rich, experiential bond between what occurs and what is seen.
Full-color. Mounted police dispersing protesters, Shouting Coaches, The Ukranian Revolution
THE ARTIST AND THE MUSE
This installation is set in a special 6’x6’ formal museum style room with a framed vertical flat screen. Viewers will have earphones for hearing sounds and music.
*NOTE: The Artist & the Muse may accompany my first, complementary submission, The Artist & the News, in the same room, or stand alone. Each set of images, uniquely evocative, provocative, and stunning in its authenticity, carries its own meaning; their juxtaposition creates an entirely different composition and viewer experience.
These images celebrate the powerful relationship between the Artist and the Muse. W.S. Merwin tells me that the poet John Barryman said to get down on your knees every day to worship the muse. Merwin said he meant it literally.
The vertical screen will present newly discovered, never-before-seen, black-and-white images of Carrie, an early, long-time muse. As viewers absorb her subtle expressions and form, they may ponder the mysteries and inspiration propelling her movements as much as my own as I captured them on film. Her image is joined by music. The juxtaposition of these sets of images, evocative, provocative, and stunning in their authenticity, casts one to reflection on the textures of our collective times.
THE ODESSA STEPS
As I was leaving an opera house in Toronto, Canada last year, I was enchanted by the view as the people above me descended a glass staircase. I was instantly reminded of my mentor Marcel Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase." The more I watched I thought about Sergei Eisenstein's Film "The Battleship Potemkin," and the famous scene of people descending the Odessa Steps. I filmed the scene of the stairs overhead to share my experience in this moment.
TO A REFLECTION
Inspired by a W.S. Merwin poem.
SNORK AND FORK
TRIBUTE TO RUBAK
BACH, SHAKESPEARE, AND MONK MEET IN THE WATER
MIRROR IN THE MIRROR
One morning, driving to the ocean for my morning swim, I heard a most remarkable piece of music. I pulled over to the side of the road and found myself mesmerized. The announcer on the public radio station, Gene Shiller, gave the title, "Speigle im Speigle" by Alvo Parte, a minimalist Astonian composer living in Germany. I immediately purchased the music and set to create a work of art for the 2010 ART MAUI juried show incorporating this intriguing, masterful piece. There were only two weeks until entry due date. As I listened to the extraordinary sounds I visualized a graceful, heavy-set, nude woman swimming in the ocean. I contacted Leslie, a delightful artist/collector of whom I'd been taking snap-shots for several years. "Meet me at Kam I at 11:00 and be prepared to swim nude," I said. Next I placed a call to my Photo Guru, Michael Gilbert, with a request to show up with his scuba gear and underwater equipment. On the way I picked up a fun, sexy hitch-hiker and I invited her to participate as well. We completed the shoot in Leslie's pool after ruining my expensive, brand-new Canon Mark II 5d digital camera, somehow salvaging a 20-minute high-definition video. Following several days of work with my long-time video editor Jim Mylenik, we were able to edit our raw footage to fit the eight-minute piece of music. The film was made into a large, circular format and I decided to project the final piece on the ceiling of the gallery with the viewers laying on the floor on carpets and pillows. The work was accepted and installed in a 100 sq. foot room.
FAMILY OF MAN
With the help of two interns from Argentina I created a 12-minute video combining parts of hundreds of faces. The faces of my Maui friends were combined with strangers off the street, as well as art luminaries and yet others from the jungles of the Amazon and those shot from magazines were brought together. The idea grew out of a dinner party Michelle and I gave where I photographed each person at the table, split their portraits and then joined them with another guest i.e. Mickey Eskimo/W.S. Merwin, Andre Gregory/Tom Sewell, Cindy Kline/Michelle Sewell etc., encouraging recognition that in all our diversity, our common parts remain the same and are able to work together.
This installation is the recreation of a room in my house/studio in the countryside of Southern France. Behind the Glass in the window I have installed a large flat video monitor, which plays a high-definition film documenting one hour of what you would see if your were sitting and looking out my window. Through the small panes, off in the distance, the observer sees the clouds slowly move by, with an occasional bird flying past. Off in the distance, across the horizon line, a truck passes, so small most people miss it. Tiny figures walk on the country road, one of which is the artist himself. The bookcase contains many of the contents of my actual bookcase in France and on the wall is a description of the value of small-pained windows from Christopher Alexander's book, "A Pattern Language."
This companion piece to the "Coffee Table" was fabricated from copper, and sat on the floor in the middle of the gallery. The piece created the illusion that it opened a hole in the floor to expose moving water in the space below. Robert Pollack of Ebb and Flow composed, in part, the soundtrack.
ENIGMA OF THE MILL COFFEE TABLE
This was my first experiment with the "enigma" concept: exploring "The Art of Industry" with the marriage of visual images and sound. The use of mirrors created kaleidoscopic patterns, interrupting our perceptions of a "known" reality. A year later, this early version evolved to become the monumental, 50-foot, six-projector, seamless installation called Enigma of the Mill. A a one-man show the month of July 2006, Enigma of the Mill broke attendance records at the Schaefer International Gallery in the Maui Art and Cultural Center.
In the late 60's I purchased a Model Nine Photo Booth. It was installed in my studio at 509 Rialto in Venice, CA, and for over 20 years I photographed everyone who visited me. The list included the Elfman brothers (Danny and Rick), Marie Elfman, Guy Bourdin, Ettore Sottsass, the Kepper Kids, Weston Naef, Rick Jenkins, Katherine Hartwig Dahl, Bob and Bob, Lynn Bregman, Christine Fulbright, Moses Pendelton, Lucion Clarique, Rico Zeimenio, the Dill brothers, Dove Christmas, Roger Webster, and the cop who was called to quiet down one of my rowdy parties.
A small square room, measuring eight-by-eight feet, set the stage for my 2003 Archive Project. Inside, four large video monitors displayed thumbnail digital photographs from my archive, accompanied by music. Images danced across the screen; some became little films, while others flashed by, burning their place in the viewer's cerebral cortex. At the time, the archive contained over one hundred thousand digital images.
WHISPERS OF THE MUSE
This installation is a tribute to two of my favorite muse/models, Chloe Mons and Carrie Barisch. Chloe appears in Italy at the Bomarzo, the monster garden created by Prince Orsini in the 17th century. Her nude figure is seen standing inside the mouth of the famous sculpture "The Gate of Hell." Her smooth, naked body is also shown sitting outside, astride two coarsely textured, giant beings as they engage in the struggles of Life and Death. Carrie, also nude, is shown emerging from a one-ton mound of sand spread on the gallery floor. She is contained inside and encircled within a room of eight foot framed mirrors.
TRIBUTE TO MOTHER
This installation included photos of my mother and her dolls, printed on a large silk panel. Several of the photos are of Mother when she was in the grips of advanced Alzheimer's. Hanging over the silk panel like an angel is a life-size porcelain doll from her collection. I did the entire piece shortly after her death when my grief was still intense. This piece became a tribute to her and helped me through the grieving period.
Collage has long been one of my favorite mediums in which to create. This exploration begain with my early erotic collages, which delighted Marcel Duchamp in my Minneapolis Botega Gallery, reminding him of the early work of Man Ray. "Pencil Face" is a large giclee print, which includes the imagery of a self-portrait of me performing a ballet leap wearing stiletto heels. It also includes a nude woman in high heels writing an essay on Adolf Walfie, the Norwegian artist who spent most of his life in a mental institution. It delights me to combine the unexpected and to explore juxtapositions, which are perhaps jarring to our common reference points.
HAIKU PICTURE BRIDES
After years of living in Haiku and digging through Maui history, especially that of sugar mills, I became aware of the concept of "picture brides." Male sugar mill or pineapple workers were able to selecta bride from a vast catalogue of photographs of available young women willing to come to Hawaii. This piece came together when I located old discarded post boxes from the Haiku Post Office. I subsequently located an old typewriter in an abandoned cane house. I added an exquisite old Asian doll from my mother's collection. The doll represents an elderly woman weaving the fabric that contains the faces of the Asian women I imagined as picture brides.
HERO WITH 1,000 FACES
This installation features the faces of 1,000 residents of Mysore, India who visited my friend S.A. Hahman's "Star Studio" to sit for a photo booth picture, which was usually an identification photo. (See Mysore Dreams) I was fortunate to obtain the photographs that had not been picked up. Subsequently, I commissioned my tailor to sew them on to cloth pages that I had bound into a book. For this piece I hung the cloth pages, mounted on a six-by-seven-foot canvas backdrop, and in conjunction showed my film of the 1000 consecutive faces on a video screen with the sound track from the Kama Sutra. Increasingly, I have found music to be an important aural adjunct to the rhythms of visual images. A life-size photo of S.A. Rahman stood in attendance, as though ready to greet new customers.
DR. SAITO'S OFFICE
Shortly after moving to Maui in the late 80's, I happened to walk into an antique shop in Pa'ia where I discovered the most amazing medical device. According to a nameplate affixed upon it, the device was a "Solar Ray Therapeutic Apparatus" and it was manufactured in Osaka, Japan by the Taiyo Kosen Gakuwai Company. Intrigued by its strange appearance, I purchased it and took it back to my studio. Seeing it every day, my curiosity about the apparatus grew and I tried to learn more about its origins and use. This particular device, it turned out, had once belonged to Dr. Edward Saito who maintained an office on Baldwin Avenue in Pa'ia beginning sometime in the early 1930's.
Through several lucky coincidences I was able to track down Saito's granddaughter who told me what her father had relayed to her of the doctor's life and practice. She led me to a run-down storage shed where I found an old truck that contained what appeared to be some the the doctor's files, as well as some very peculiar research material and photographs. In this installation I have attempted to create a semi-factual depiction of Dr. Saito's Pa'ia office, complete with many of the documents and photographs taken from Saito's personal truck and wall and the actual "Solar Ray Therapeutic Apparatus" that was central to his treatments. I have modified the apparatus to use an electric bulb that demonstrates its use but minimizes the dangers of extreme solar exposure. I am still trying to unravel the mysteries of exactly how Dr. Saito's treatments worked - or didn't - and what happened to him after he left Maui. I encourage anyone viewing the exhibit who has additional information on Dr. Saito or his patients to please contact me.
While exploring Maui, H. Poko became one of my favorite locations to photograph. I eventually hired Jose Morales to shoot this mysterious, almost sacred doorway with his enormous 8x10 large format camera. Built in 1879, the abandoned, well-hidden sugar mill has been slowly encapsulated by banyon trees and ravaged by neglect: a surreal image of nature's force and ultimate power over man's creations. This image spurred my interest in exploring the process of giclee printing and was my first large print on the famous German Hahnemuhle watercolor paper.
SHOES FOR SUSAN
Shortly after a difficult separation from Susan, a former girlfriend, I was walking on the beach in Maui with my dear friend, Dennis Gassner. I was expressing my sadness about the breakup when we stumbled across a dead blowfish that was covered with spikes. We brought the smelly fish home and cut the spikes off. Several weeks later, after Dennis returned to Hollywood, I contacted him and requested a pair of shoes that I could apply the spikes to. I was remembering the iron that Man Ray glued tack to and early work by William Tunbug who applied rose thorns to women's stilettos. I was quite pleasantly shocked when I received a smashing pair of size ten fetish shoes from Dennis. The spikes were quickly applied to them. A small Basil Langton effecase picturing a woman's face covered by an X was placed next to the shoes. The entire piece was placed into a specially fabricated plexiglass cube.
This was one of my early installations, for which I decided to take my art off the wall and incorporate found and sculptural elements. The piece consisted of metal boxes that were "wall-papered" with old Japanese and Chinese graphics of young women, forming two tall columns. Each box contained mementos from actual women that came to Maui as picture brides. Picture brides were ordered by early plantation workers from catalogs of available women from Asia. Two hand-painted chairs flanked the metal boxes. Each chair contained a reference to important members of a ship's crew, e.g. "captain," "surgeon", and "cook." Floating above the metal boxes was an antique porcelain doll representing the first-born child.
I'M NOT FICTIONAL
Inspired by the W.S. Merwin poem, "On Forgetting," I decided to create a triptych depicting some of my feelings about my mother and me from around 1943. It was taken at our grandfather's lake cabin in Brainerd, Minnesota. The love between us is clearly visible and I feel a surge of emotion each time I look at it. The center frame is a video screen with a few minutes of a film I made documenting seven years of our mother's life when she was dealing with Alzheimer's and three of us boys were caring for her. The frame on the right side presented the W.S. Merwin poem, it speaks to me of the feelings of loss connected to memory.
While living in Mysore, India in the late 1980's I frequented The Star Studio, operated by my friend S.A. Rahman, an 80-year-old Moslem photographer. He was famous for his portraits and large format camera work, much of it commissioned by the Maharajah of Mysore. He also operated "The Art Deco English Photo Booth," which he used to produce identity photos for Mysore citizens. Each day after yoga class I would stop at The Star Studio, take self-portraits of my transforming self in his photo booth and then put them in albums. I trained myself to wake up in the middle of the night, after dreaming, and draw on the photographs.
This 'dream' project began with a post card I received from Marcel Duchamp in 1963. The image on the card is a photograph by Richard Hamilton of Duchamp's hand holding a cigar. The smoke is rising from the cigar as though a dream of mysterious imaginings is coming forth. Thus I have incorporated, with the card, numerous intriguing graphic images of schoolgirls, Napoleon, yoga postures, grids, architecture, and nature into a long, wafting collage of provocative visual treats.