Exhibiting at the Pleiades Gallery

I am in the annual Friends of Pleiades exhibit until January 21 at the Pleiades Gallery, 530 W. 25th St. 4th floor, NYC 10001.  I've known this coop gallery for about 30 years, and I intend to join them and hopefully have a one-man show in 2017.  Below is my statement for the current group show.  Someday, I'll get my sense of humor back, but I'm still pretty angry about Clinton not winning the 2016 election.

Declaration of Resistance

December 26, 2016

The tragic election of November 2016 resulted from confusion and fear in the minds of too many fellow voters.  The policies threatened by the incoming administration defy the expressed will of the majority of voters and will further enflame the confusion and fear of its voter base.

I hereby declare my resistance to confusion and fear.  Through my sculptures, I seek to explore my love for humanity and the Earth and to convey those feelings in all their crude, awkward and pure (i.e., unselfconscious) nature.   Art is part of my process of opening up to the world.  At this time of Republican power through fear, confusion and isolation, my art is resistance.

Joining the NYC art scene

Agora Gallery in Chelsea sent me an invite to represent my work in their gallery.  The cheapest level I can enter costs $5450/year.  I can't afford that much, but I realized that I can't wait around forever for some commercial gallery to invite me to their stable.  I decided to join the coop gallery Pleiades, which is in the building next door to Agora on W 25th St., albeit on the 4th floor rather than the street level.  So I will still spend a couple of thousand dollars a year to have one show a year at one of the world's most active art markets.  While it seems expensive, this is New York, and there aren't many ways to get into the Chelsea district.  I have friends at Pleiades, and they welcome me.  I'll be showing a couple of sculptures this December.  I'm currently imagining my first solo show to be called "Planet Aggression", and I'll include the darker Industrial Parks and Landscapes.  Just another thought.

Notes on "Garden of Destruction" (Landscape series)

For 28 years I was married and living in the suburbs of New York City, and in 2012 I walked out of the marriage.  Creation follows destruction, and I saw no way to become the honest and open man I wanted to become without leaving the lifestyle to which I had grown so accustomed.  More nauseating and heart braking than cathartic at the time, I’m much happier now.

The center pyramid of “Garden of Destruction” suggests a white clapboard house becoming the trellis for some tree/ivy-type plant that may be destroying the pyramid while it grows on it.  The figures depict mostly yoga positions, but also work, play and meditation positions.  I’m trying to imply that there’s not much distinction between the activities. 

The shapes around the garden borrow from Buddhist mandala forms: the three-sided phurba daggers topping the pillars supporting each arch, the double vajra on the top of each arch and the shape of the arch flames.  The zig-zag of the walls and the spiral tooth shape of the outer circle kept coming back to me, although I played with several different shapes here.  They felt appropriate, even though they don’t follow mandala iconography.

Selectively borrowing symbols and forms from a spiritual tradition risks subverting the intent of the tradition’s symbols and inspiration.  As a Buddhist practitioner, I believe that the emotions and energy that went into this sculpture are appropriately expressed in the forms I borrowed from Buddhist mandala tradition, even if my final product is far from traditional.  

Art that emphasizes human connection reweaves our social fabric.

     Some of us who studied art history in college yearn for the chance to be part of an identifiable art movement or paradigm.  It seems that since Conceptualism deconstructed the art object itself, everyone seeks independent directions and solitary careers.  (There are exceptions of course such as Guerilla Girls and Tim Rollins + KOS). 

     I think that the art movements of the early and mid 20th century weren’t just about developing modernist concepts but also about connecting with artists and the human communities around them, even if some individuals at the time balked to cubism or surrealism of expressionism.  Art movements were communities and while most artists work alone, the connections art movements and salons fostered enriched the lives and art of the members just as friends and colleagues enrich most people. 

     Art that emphasizes human connection reweaves our social fabric.  Walking through the galleries of Chelsea or the Whitney Museum or the Museum of Art and Design (my latest favorite), I think about the human communities implied by the art, and sometimes I see community created by the art as friends and strangers share reactions.

Sculptures about love and politics

Most of the sculptures on this website depict humanish figures in community settings.  Any healthy community interaction necessarily involves the consideration and diplomacy and compromise that we associate with “politics”.  “Love” includes the absence of fear and aggression.  So most of these sculptures attempt to imagine people living together without fear and aggression.  If we ever want such a world to come about, we have to imagine what it looks like.