I’ve been invited to participate in an exhibition at Allison Ruby’s wonderful little upstart gallery called Red Garage Studio. It’s her garage. It’s her studio and it’s her gallery. Tucked away behind her home it has become a community workshop and space for engagement. Her space and spirit is what I like to think of a “punk upstart”, she is making something happen and bringing incredibly positive energy into her community.
Red Garage Studio is in its second full season offering exhibitions wryly referred to as the “Manual Transmission” series. Last season I had the pleasure of participating in one of these exhibitions. An important part of her exhibition philosophy is that the work has to be:
“created using hand processes, with minimal or no technology or digital fabrication. Even multimedia work, which obviously involves technology to produce, is created with the direct action of the artist such as hand-drawn animation, hand photographic manipulation, or performance.”
So Manual Transmission….get it?
I love it.
I’m in the upcoming exhibition titled the DegeneraTe Show. The title of the show makes clear reference to the famed exhibition in Munich Germany staged by the Nazi party. We all know what happened. So it is a timely exhibition considering our own current political climate. The exhibition features forty fantastic artists, you can expect a lot of energy and outrage, a great mix for incredible art. I am very honored to be included in this group.
I never think of myself as a political artist per se. In the past I’ve done a few works that made direct political commentary but it is not my typical mode of work. However I do think my work is political, all art is political. Any human activity that asks the question “Why”? becomes a political statement. It is a statement questioning the status quo and the perceived order of things. The original Degenerate exhibition in Munich is a good example of what I’m talking about. It is also why repressive regimes, like the Nazis, work to silence creative human expression of all kinds.
About a year ago I started making paintings of dark waves. These are paintings that come wholly from my imagination, not based on observation. They are paintings of a turbulent sea or lake at night. The water is thrashing and threatening, a storm is coming. These paintings were done as our political season was thrashing along. I see them as metaphors for upheaval and turmoil. Perhaps a foreboding future.
The painting I’ve included in the Degenerate exhibition is called “Dark Sail” and it is a continuation of my dark wave paintings. It was inspired by a recent trip to the shores of lake Michigan. As I stared out at the water I kept imagining a sailboat with a black sail drifting by me on the lake. The sky was an eerie dystopian brown. I didn’t want to paint the entire boat so I chose to crop it, almost as if I was hiding from the people on the boat, seeing only the top of the sail over a wall. It’s an image that also pays homage to the Klansmen paintings of Phillip Guston, one of my favorite painters.
The opening for the DegeneraTe Show is Friday July 21st from 7-10pm. Allison throws a great party and I hope to see you there!