Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I know that I was talkin' all scared about how I didn't have anything ready for Artomatic last week...well, turns out that I made it in the nick of time...

Jared's Artomatic space with Hurdi Gurdi installed, as seen from 8th floor elevators.

Instead of trying to crank out a bunch of smaller pictures, I concentrated on making one large piece. It's actually five separate pieces of luan, that have been screwed to the 8'x8' plywood wall provided by artomatic.

Hurdi Gurdy
Acrylic on luan (five pieces) 8'x8'

While considering what to do at Artomatic, I came to the conclusion that it was one of the best venues for experimentation that a painter in DC is likely to have. Which means that I was given an opportunity to do something outlandish and risky. Seizing that opportunity meant making something that was not necessarily commercially viable and even something that was a bit ugly. In the end, I decided that I would make something that would be informed by my work in theater (using theatrical scale, as well as materials) as well as my work as a painter (painterliness and pictorial narrative) because that is exactly the type of work I have been striving to make lately. Usually, I am trying to shoehorn painterliness into my scenic designs...this time I wanted to shoehorn my scenic design sensibilities into my painting.

The narrative is also somewhat new for me. Usually, I make paintings that are pretty narrative neutral. The monkeys or tikis are usually alone, or it is not clear what is going on. My still lifes generally just depict the object without a background. So this picture is a departure for me. It has a definite narrative. It tells the tale of murder.

The Monkey was the Organ Grinder's. However the Organ Grinder is dead. He slipped on the murder weapon, a banana. Was it the Monkey that killed the Organ Grinder? That is unclear, but he seems pretty excited about being released from his bonds.

The Organ Grinder's disembodied head appears behind the monkey. Is the Organ Grinders soul going to heaven? or is he being dragged down to Hell by the anvil he is carrying in his mouth? Will he drop the anvil on the Monkey as payback for his untimely death?

Its a silly story...and a silly painting. But it was a whole lot of fun to make. Perhaps there are a few more paintings I could make describing the dynamic between Organ Grinder and Monkey...

I look forward to seeing everyone at the opening night of Artomatic, this Friday night! (Stop on by and sample the circus peanuts!)

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