These small drawings came out of seeing a tiny pile of twigs on my drawing table. The twigs had broken off apple tree branches with which I was making a large sculpture. I made the little pile because I knew that there was something interesting there.
In order to find the vision I imagined I would have, I photographed the pile. I enlarged the picture on the computer and made it black and white.
I traced individual black and white images on light blue paper and made each a different color, intending to span a legitimate “spectrum.”
I couldn’t have done this series without imaginary and sometimes actual conversations with Allan McCollum.
These pieces are all on canvas. They each measure sixty inches in height by twenty-two inches in width.
They are made with acrylic, colored pencil and marker. The first layer is acrylic and forms the background. The second layer traces the shapes left by the dripping paint with permanent silver marking pen. The last layer uses a stencil made from a drawing I made of a tree a long time ago. The shapes left by tracing the stencil are colored in with colored pencil.
The title of the series comes from a statement made by Gene Youngblood in a talk on the internet celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of his landmark book, Expanded Cinema. In the talk, he and the moderator were in an exchange regarding how the global society can change using technology as one of its means.
My affection for trees stems from a lifelong interest in how they create intimate spaces in which to linger and how the shadows of the branches are embracing and graceful and evanescent.
Trees are integral to the earth’s environment. The more that trees are brought into human consciousness, the more concern we have for them. Trees have their own forms of growth and communication. They demonstrate when they are hurt and when they are thriving. We cannot take them for granted.
All these pieces are diptychs, measuring 22″ in height by 44.5″ wide. They are mixed media: charcoal and watercolor crayon. (The thumbtacks are collaterally visible because the photos were taken by me and I didn’t know enough to do something other than that.)
These images show the installation of the piece, Naga #2, at the Embassy of Laos in Vientiane, going down the wall from left to right. The textiles are all Lao from different regions of the country. They were gathered at markets and from mills on my visits there.
Many of the small pieces of woven cloth are often incorporated into clothing as borders on skirts or jackets. Some of the large tapestries are used as hangings. The horizontal center blue & Tai Daeng weave tapestry is an antique.
The black “line” is velvet cording, weaving in and out of the spaces between the tapestries. In some places, examples of the silk thread used in weaving the tapestries were stretched out to intertwine with the materials laid out on the wall. I used two thousand brass nails to mount the cording as well as the tapestries. At one point in the middle of the installation, I believed that I was going to run out of nails. So I decided to use the velvet in broad strokes taking it straight across the materials on the wall instead of curving it over or around the tapestries. To some, this falsely appeared as though I was holding up the tapestries when, in fact, it was a pragmatic decision to save the number of nails that I had left. The straight “lines” complement the angularity of the Lao designs; the textile version of the Naga is an example.
The title, Naga, is the name of the mythical dragon-like creature that protects the country. It lives in the Mekong River. Laos is not the only country which reveres the Naga.
These pictures are the only ones that were taken of the piece. I took them when I finished installing it. I take great risk in publishing them here.
This drawing, entitled Parallel to Palladio, was installed in the office of the President of United Satellite Communications, Madison Avenue, New York, NY. The interior designer was Tom Mahoney, then working with GN Associates, New York.