This first painting, Little Pink Houses, was the first piece I finished for this project. I have posted the image before but never wrote anything about the work and there is a good reason for that. Often, it takes time before I realize why I made something. When I first finished this painting, I thought it stood for suburbia, something I was not really familiar with until recently. Well it does stand for suburbia, but not the suburbia of today where the HOA oversees your life (you can read my thoughts on this topic in my post No Pink Flamingos). This is the suburbia of the past, when you could enjoy your yard, hang you clothes out to dry, and do the other types of activities that make home ownership a pleasure.
The work above, Ghosts of Neighborhoods Past, is about neighborhoods that have seen better days. Unfortunately, this is my old neighborhood.
If you were around in the 1970s, you probably had the experience of going to a restaurant and, after your salad or whatever was placed before you, a waiter came over with a giant pepper mill offering you fresh ground pepper. And, no doubt, you were so intrigued by this odd offer that you accepted having no idea of the results.
Now you are probably wondering “What does this have to do with housing”. Well, everything, but give me a moment to explain. I am one of the zillions of people who have replaced my good old standard pepper shaker with a pepper mill. I have probably owned my current pepper mill for about 7 years. It has only recently occurred to me how often I run out of pepper corns and how every time I go to buy them I
complain to myself about the price. At the market today, I have once again found myself in that situation and opted for a can of good old fashioned ground black pepper. Is there a difference in taste? Well, probably to the most discerning palate, which I do not have. I put pepper on my food purely for the aesthetics. The little black specs somehow makes whatever I am eating look more appealing. But more importantly is this question: at what point did freshly ground pepper from a mill become the norm in our kitchens?Read More »
The Cookie Cutter House Project is based on a number of things. Houses and buildings appeared in my former work because I lived in an old, large city and became part of my subconscious. Recently, I moved to a totally new environment comprised of a mix of rural and suburban landscape. Overdevelopment and a lack of housing for the booming population are major concerns. In addition, when I did move, I left the only place I ever knew as “home” and I believe this project is helping me address and possibly redefine my thoughts on home and community. Read More »
My work process started to include a variety of papers, many of which I made or altered by painting or printmaking techniques. I have tried a number of different surfaces but paper remains my favorite to this day. The satisfaction of making paper and altering the surfaces of manufactured paper resulted in my including other materials in my work such as stitching and wire. The house and building imagery increased and also seemed to go from grand buildings (as in the cut paper work in my last post) to singular structures and small groups of less grand buildings. Other samples of this work are shown in this post.
Houses and buildings have long been represented in my artwork. I believe that even though certain imagery may remain in an artist’s work, the meaning of those images can change over time. When I teach, I often refer to such imagery as personal symbols.
When I first started putting buildings in my work, it was obvious to me that it was because this was part of my everyday scenery. I lived in a very large city and you saw row after row of houses and blocks and blocks of buildings. This post shows some samples of my work from the late 1980s which was all made of cut paper, down to the smallest detail. I truly believe I would not currently have the patience to work in this medium.