The dreamings of the Australian aboriginines represent a kind of art that goes to the core of their identities. To the extent that that represents any kind of an accurate description, allow me to state that these images are at something of an opposite extreme in that they play around loosely with important documents.
My initial impulse in doing maps was to effect some sort of transformation. A road map tells you what you, in your car, need to know about getting around. How about if the map were treated as a template through which other concerns were granted expression? There’s a lot to think about and do in this department and I feel that I have gotten so far as to dip my little toe so far.
This object is a straight-out gouge into a piece of particle board. It is derived from a map of Peninsula, Ohio, a picturesque village with bars, gift shops, but no place to buy a toothbrush. I was looking to produce the effect of a rather rusticated brass plaque.
The styrofoam stuff now scares me to death. But there was a time not long ago when I went after it full bore. This isn’t the pink polystyrene that I have mentioned, but a white granular material with the strength of compressed popcorn. On went the downtown layout of a small town over by Sandusky, followed by the familiar sequence of blocking out areas to remain protruded, hitting with hot air from a paint remover gun to shrink the unprotected and covering over with paint and glazes. Styrofoam dissolves in oil-based mediums so the piece required a substantial application of water based primer before getting its polyurethane.
I don’t know, there’s just something about the Cotswolds in England that gets me. I picture a gentle kind of place, an impression unsullied by any personal experience. There’s also something about a Cotswold map, a flowing quality where both water and people follow the lay of the land, that sounds a call to action. I created a relief which I then painted in an alla prima fashion – color, glaze all laid down within an hour. It fell into this pattern.
I’m convinced that Akron, Ohio sits over and is one with some kind of earth-based and upwelling source of spirituality. Especially over by the northwestern side of town I get an emotionally mentholated feeling. Enough is it to make the hair of my brain stand on end. That, plus the fact that Akron presents another flow-based scape, makes it one of my preferred subjects.
Here I used the plastic cover sheet that comes with a Foamula board as a kind of frisket to blank out certain areas from the fiery gun. A few colors – mostly black – and a rub of silver and into the racks it went.
Didn’t I post on this subject before?