Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Give You Socks

(sizes vary)

In the mist of clouds
or the flow of water;
wind sculpted in desert
frozen in ice;
in the duff of the forest floor or
a tumble of rocks

I give you socks

Why socks?
Before the disease of mental illness gripped him in its insidious vise, Alex was a joyous boy. At his funeral family and friends gave witness to his life; not to minimize his death but to realign the bones that gave structure to his existence. As memories crowded in the years unfolded. When his mother's sister replayed a long-ago Christmas morning, we all experienced his elation upon receiving a box filled with socks. Simple pleasures. As a parting tribute to a boy so recently touching and releasing manhood, our minister suggested that we gift each other, that approaching Christmas, with socks.

This series of sixty watercolors is dedicated to my cousin's son, Alex, who died in November of 2006. Each painting, inspired by folded and jumbled heaps of socks fashioned into landscapes, was given to a member of my family as a celebration of Alex's life.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Milkweed Series, Full Circle (installation)

This piece was selected by Ron Pizzuti for the Ohio Art League's 99th annual Spring Juried Exhibition, 2010.

The sacramental structure of Full Circle may evoke whispers of grace, sacrifice, offerings and incense or be symbolic of a dining table cherished by generations, a place of ritual and respect. But at its core Full Circle is an attempt to elevate the mundane, the over-looked, even the eradicated in our lives...and maybe atone for past sins by planting a seed considered a noxious weed by some, a promise of life for others.

Milkweed Series, Full Circle


Wood table with gold leaf letters, seed packets,
glass and copper wire ciboria,
brass censer and incense

In one segment of the installation the components are Milkweed seeds attached to 850 two inch paper discs soaked in seed starting fertilizer. A fine metal mesh is stitched to the dried discs with a copper wire to hold the seeds in place. The discs are embossed with a cross pattern and placed in four glass and copper vessels on a four foot round table. The altar-height table is inscribed with "vitam aeternum" and the scientific classification of Milkweed from Kingdom to species in gilded letters. Incense wafts out of a censer from my childhood Catholic Church, suspended above the table.
The other segment consists of 850 envelopes and a gilded drop box accompanied by a small sign that reads:

If you wish to fully participate please self address an envelope.
Leaving it unsealed, enclose a dollar and drop it in the box.
At the close of the exhibition you will receive one seed packet and planting instructions.

Milkweed Series, Offering

Milkweed Series, Offering
Seed packets, glass, copper wire

Milkweed Series, Hush

Milkweed Series, Hush
Seed pods, metal lath, copper wire