Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bad Water 20

I had a whole lot of things to say in this post, but I'm just glad now to have just had the energy to paint, and I'll leave the writing for another day.

I will say one quick thing about an unrelated topic. Doug Fister, a baseball player, is a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. He was hit in the head by a line drive tonight in the 2nd inning of game 2 of the World Series. While he eventually would give up the winning run, he stayed in the game after being hit, and even pitched into the 7th inning.

Many of you may not be familiar with baseball, but the guy was 60 feet from the batter, and a hard smash by the batter hit the right side of his head and ended up in the outfield. He shook it off and played on as if it didn't happen. He has re-defined the concept of tough for me.

I was hit in the head by a few metaphorical line drives over the past few days. I'm still in the game. In fact, I worked on the 20th installment of Bad Water tonight against all odds that I would have the energy to paint for 2 hours after the week I've been having.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bad Water 19

This painting is all about the water. It all comes full circle.

Tomorrow I hope most of this is dry and I can continue the detail of the film on the water. One can only imagine what that film is. I certainly don't know, as I wasn't exactly going to put my hand into it to find out what it was. I didn't have the means to test water samples from the site. Its not what I was there for. I was just there to take the picture, record the moment, show us where we've been, try and predict where where going.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bad Water 18

So I started really attacking the water in the foreground, not as successfully as I would have liked. The photo, which doesn't accurately reflect reality, makes my hack job look half decent. I'm hoping the liquin in the paint helps it dry by tomorrow, because although tomorrow is Friday, and I generally keep Friday nights holy and free of work, I may actually want to get back into this.

Meanwhile, my entire body of work has now been made available on Zatista, and you can visit my store and buy my work at fire sale prices by clicking here. You'll find oldies as well as new stuff, and the longer something's been hanging around the better the deal.

Now I'll have to bang this one out, since all of my inventory will be moving out rather quickly and there won't be any art to hang on the walls in my house.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bad Water 17 And A Veep And Pony Show

So I put on the double LP Before The Flood, Bob Dylan and the Band, at about 10:30 tonight. I should have put it on an hour earlier, or as a friend suggested, put on Dark Side Of The Moon just as Biden roared, so tonight's actors in the Presidential Pageant would seem to talk in sync with the music, just like what potheads do with The Wizard Of Oz.

In a crumbling world, no one can address the root causes of things like wars, they only argue about who voted to pay for them, or about whether or not marines should have been guarding a diplomat who was killed in a part of the world that has been ravaged by greed, mainly inflicted by Western "interests."

No one can address how our civilization has caused so much violence and destruction to our world it will render it uninhabitable in a few generations. This is where I come in.

Not really. I'm just a painter. You make what you want out of it.

If you've been reading along over the past few weeks you'll notice that something in this picture is missing. I'll let you find it. If you do, you win a prize.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bad Water 16

I just don't know about this one. It's not living up to expectations. The last painting was exponentially more successful and easier. A friend of mine took the photo from last night and photoshopped Martin Sheen coming up out of the water in Apocalypse Now. I think that's where this painting has to dwell. It just has to be content with being a train wreck.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bad Water 15

What's going on here? This one is supposed to be all about the water. It needs more funk.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Legacy Of A Dead Planet (again)

I posted my artist's statement a few months ago but revised it a little, so I'm posting it again. I hate artist's statements because I have to have one to submit work to galleries, and because they're completely subjective, and consist of nothing but hyperbole and mindless pontification. I find them to be completely disingenuous, and they reveal little or nothing about what really inspires the artists who write them. Since I'm forced to have one of these dreadful documents, I instead decided to make mine to be more of a confession than a description of my work. Enjoy...

The Legacy Of A Dead Planet

My work is a record of my personal journey of discovery and adventure. It’s a deeper look into the conflict between Nature and Man. Studying this conflict requires complete honesty, and in order to fully understand this dynamic, an observer must accept the possibility that the side to which his sympathy is given may not be winning.

This is not such an easy idea to accept for someone who is a lover of Nature, because it should be obvious that Nature will most likely obliterate any of Man’s accomplishments. That which Man creates is made of Nature’s building blocks, and is therefore no greater than Nature itself. Buildings crumble and rot, images fade away, civilizations and their hopes and dreams fall to pieces as elements react with elements and molecules with molecules. Sublime natural forces such as rust or mold are as detrimental to Mankind as the atomic fusion that creates stars and galaxies.

So if Nature has so much going for it, how can Mankind possibly pose a threat? What efforts can humans bring that will overcome the powers of creation? These are questions that I have been exploring in my studies of abandoned buildings and polluted wetlands. The first look at a crumbling brick row home with trees growing up through the roof would seem to indicate that given enough time, Nature will get the upper hand. But something else is there, something sinister, something malignant, even depraved.

Picture yourself on a canoe, floating down a canal that cuts through a thick marsh, with the tops of foxtail grasses reaching fifteen feet above the water line. Their roots are planted firmly in an oozy, green and brown base of land that seems like an ordinary marsh bed when casually viewed as you drift by. Upon closer inspection, you discover that this miry substratum is more than muddy earth. It’s also a tangled mesh of old shoes, bottles, cans, wires, fabric, hoses, and any other relic that Man can create and discard. You soon realize that this marsh is growing on a land base that is made entirely of garbage. Acre after acre of what seemed like a pristine aquatic wilderness is actually an old landfill.

I used to claim that my work was, at its very core, optimistic. I believed that by drawing attention to distressed environments, I could convey the need to address concerns about the natural world and what our species would do to reverse the devastation it had caused. I believed that ultimately, Nature would prevail and rid itself of the plague that Mankind had brought. As I do more research and observation I’m beginning to feel that perhaps I was initially misguided and wrongly idealistic.

My recent studies of the New Jersey Meadowlands have reinforced this feeling. There aren’t many places on earth where an ecosystem has suffered so terribly from the wanton greed and selfishness of the human quest for wealth and power. With air, water and land tainted with the poisonous by-products of Mankind’s material culture, there is little reason to believe that a place that was transformed from a living wetland into a toxic wasteland can ever return to its original form. The discarded refuse and contamination is simply too widespread and too deeply infused into the land to ever be cleaned out enough to support life. The available land continues to be consumed by the demand for real estate, and the behavior of the water is forever re-directed to comply with the requirements of Mankind.

The optimism that was once the core emotion in my work has been usurped by despair. The more I see, the less I feel that Nature can eradicate the inherited desolation of a pernicious human civilization. Solid waste and toxic chemicals could potentially remain as part of the Earth’s surface forever. The self-destructive and suicidal behavior of a species which chooses to live in such a way that destroys the very ecosystem on which it relies for its survival is further proof that there is little chance for salvation from this fate. Even after our species vanishes from history, there will be a legacy, and I have chosen to record it in my paintings. It is the legacy of a dead planet.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bad Water 14 - Better Than The Debate

Obamacare vs Bain Capital didn't distract me from my life's work. Right now this thing is all about the water. That's where I'll be for about the next 3 weeks. Paint it in little pieces, make it meaty and thick. Keep it creamy in color and remember the light. When painting water, its all about the light.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bad Water 13

The painting made a little progress tonight, after 3 idle weeks when no work was done. Look carefully at the right side where the reeds touch the water.

The first of 3 Presidential debates takes place tomorrow. I'll be painting. Neither candidate will discuss what it will take to stop our culture from destroying life. Everything we see has a price tag. There is no other priority for civilization more important than making profit. Our way of life has doomed every ecosystem on planet Earth. This should be obvious to anyone. Human beings have been concentrated into dense urban centers where local resources have been completely consumed, and residents these urban centers must go to other places to find more resources to consume. These resources are often taken by force. The waste products produced by life in these urban centers are poison to the air, water, and land. This is reality.

Starting this winter, The Weather Channel will be naming winter storms. This is a priority. Weather is entertainment. Presidential politics is entertainment. Shootings and robberies on the news is entertainment.

I don't paint the world I want to live in. That world doesn't exist, and if it did, there would be no need for art. I paint what I see around me, and try to draw attention to how things are, to raise awareness of bad situations such as a suffering wetlands in northern New Jersey. 

Tomorrow night for most of America it will be Obamacare vs. Bain Capital. In my studio it will be Bad Water 14.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I Want To Take You Higher (Grounds)

New paintings of mine, as well as highlights from the past will be on exhibit at Higher Grounds Cafe in Philadelphia starting Thursday, October 4 through October 31. Anyone in the vicinity of Northern Liberties in Philadelphia is invited to visit the cafe at 631 North 3rd St (3rd St near Fairmount). The coffee rocks and their wifi is lightning fast.

I wasn't initially going to have any kind of opening reception, but after I created the event on Facebook, several folks had responded that they were coming. Facebook only gave me the option to enter one date for the event, so I chose Oct. 4, making it look as if I was hosting an event that night. I think I may go anyway now, since some people I haven't seen in a while may be there. I'll be there from 7:30PM until close.

I had vowed to finish the painting I'm currently working on for this hang, but a combination of laziness and lack of ambition derailed that plan. I'm not working tonight, either.

Info about Higher Grounds including their hours can be found here… 

For some reason, the name "Higher Grounds" always makes me think of this…

Not this, as you might have expected…


Matthew Green, After The Occupation, 30" x 48", oil on canvas, 2012