While the show was up at the Saul Alexander Gallery in June I was busy working away at a new series, Songs of Freedom, for the Miller Gallery in Charleston. It was a wide departure from the organic tones of the Charleston Boxes, but the Miller Gallery is a colorful, cheerful place and it demands vibrancy.
I've never been a colorful person. My house is black and white, most of my art is black and white, and I wear mostly black and white. It's not as Tim Burton as it sounds. I just have a busy mind and I like visual calm.
However, in 2017 I totally fell in love with color on a soujourn to the legendary Isle of Capri. I could barely find time to eat for documenting color palettes. In fact, I completely missed out on the incredible walks and Roman ruins and *had* to book passage back for more exploring in 2019. I highly recommend reading The Story of San Michele. It will inspire you.
So, isn't that happy? That's Capri Tiberio Palace by the way, and yes they will bring you a glass of champagne in that pool.
I'd been waiting for a chance to use this color palette, and texture, and repetitive elements. I'd also been looking for a reason to fully abandon myself to the bird motif.
The five here are the start of the series, and they were a challenge.
In each piece I have to balance scale, tone, composition, texture, space, and symbolic meaning with the objects I can get my hands on, and the weight and size of a piece. For those counting, that's at least 10 spinning plates - and now I was attempting to throw in one more. Actually it was more like jugging 10 plates and having someone throw in a chainsaw. Color has big personality and can easily overwhelm the assemblage objects. I sailed perilously close to the wind on a couple of these.
I stuck close to my inspiration this time, and worked extra hard to find (and score) the exact elements I wanted - the antique wind up birds and the vintage Magic Restorer bird feed tins. Either of those things can go for hundreds of dollars in auctions, so I had to wait patiently for someone who didn't know the value, or didn't care. Otherwise the price of the finished piece would collapse under the weight of the cost of materials. Is that another spinning plate?
And then I had to punch holes in rare, vintage objects, forever ruining their intrinsic value. If anything, I'm an expert at that.
It all worked out, it always does despite my middle-of-the-night panics. These are available at - or online through - the Miller Gallery. To see prices, check the Available Works page or contact the gallery.
As tough as it was to learn to use color, and even to break a few color theory rules, I enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to seeing where the next ones take us.