Spring has arrived in NYC, and I am grateful. As those who live in winter climes know, it has been an unusually long, cold, and difficult winter. Texas on the other hand has been dry and is already heating up….in the 90s, and its still early May. We will be there in August when 100 will be the daily temperature. Oh well. There’s lots of AC wherever you go.
The semester has just finished up at NYSS. This was my fifth, and I must say I think I’ve had a fairly important breakthrough in examining the work of Chaim Soutine and David Park. Soutine looks for the language of art and Park resurrects the figure from abstract art. Soutine is trying to get it right and find relationships. Park tries to react to what the painting needs. With that, I’ve added a heavy brush and large quantities of paint to my own pieces. I was truly on a roll from late January through April and began each day in the studio about 9 a.m. and worked through late afternoon/early evening. At last count I think I had finished about 20 new pieces that ranged all the way from a Rembrandt rendition of The Prodigal to a snapshot of pork hanging on a hook in Japan. At a more simple level, there are several still life. Each of these needs some touch up work for them to be declared finished. As usual my atelier leaders Graham Nickson and Elisa Jensen were very helpful in their review, and Eve Aschheim, who is a professor of art at Princeton, presented me with an array of comments. Basically, she said, “Jack, keep it simple.”
Then it was my turn for the critique panel where a panel of four (including my atelier plus John Dubrow, a working New York artist, and Jim Plunkett, a working NYC artist and MFA graduate from NYSS) reviewed my work. John has been a panel member for the end-of-semester critiques for the past several years and was more generous this year than before; for which I was relieved.
I’m planning a series on Nebraska when we make our trip to my high school reunion in Albion next month. I want to take photos of some buildings in Omaha — like a gas station on Dodge Street, the Missouri River (maybe with a bridge), some trees on the drive to Albion, and some growing plants along the road. If a haystack comes along, I want that too.
The second series may be of life after the Chernobyl explosion in the Ukraine. I think I’ll need to go there to be creditable and do the photo work. With the situation between Russia and Ukraine, there is a possibility I can’t get in. I have friends in art school from that area so I’ll have them check out the travel possibility. A third series is floating around my brain and it would be of bridges in major cities. I painted a bridge in Prague some years ago and have another bridge in Amsterdam. Of course, there are 1,200 bridges in Amsterdam so there is much to choose from there.
With those series in mind, how am I going to be a full-time student at NYSS this fall? It will be my last formal semester in the certification program, though I may have to stay longer. We really do like this city and all there is to do and see here. (Decisions for a later time.)
Thanks to all of you who keep up with my somewhat erratic blog. If you’d like to drop a line I’d love to hear from you.