Thursday, March 31, 2022

He Made War Like A Man Anointing Himself

 I was very fortunate last year to be a participant in the 14th Annual The Figure In Contemporary Art Show at the Hilliard Gallery in Kansas City, MO, and the piece I submitted actually sold. With a year gone by, it is time to consider making something for the 15th Annual Show scheduled for April, 2022.

Denice and I had the opportunity to visit Dallas in 2019 and we made a trip to the Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas where we found this warrior in full regalia. 

My Photo From the Museum

Since 2019 I have had the two major components of this project waiting in my basement for the right inspiration. 

Piece #1: All that is left of a Roll Out Croquet unit I bought at an auction

Added a brace for the next piece

You want to be a Wisconsin assemblage artist. Then toughen up, Bucky!

Piece #2: This awesome mannequin

After shopping my own stuff, I selected an oil lamp bracket with a tin reflector, football shoulder pads and a metal belt.

Sometimes even the best of intentions take a right turn. After mounting the mannequin onto the croquet stand, I did not like the angle of the head. So, I lopped it off. 

Of course, that meant I had to attach it again. 

The oil lamp bracket got painted and attached.

When I got this far it seemed like I needed something to give this piece some horizontal dimension. How about a Halloween Batman plastic mask?

Some of my handmade rusted cloth provided a protective layer for the helment.

A belt from my stash added to the military feel.

I think this a hair barrette that I painted up for the helmet.

Thus we have He Made War Like A Man Anointing Himself, a line from Robert Bly's poem. At A Match Against The Vietnam War.

It consists of Roll Out Crochet StandMannequinCurtainLamp ShadeOil Lamp Bracket with Tin ReflectorDecorative bowlMetal CandleholderWood trimWelding goggles, Hair barretteWindow trim clothShelf liner, Cord, Belts, Football shoulder pads and a Curtain tie back.

Indeed, this piece was accepted into the 15th Annual The Figure In Contemporary Art Show at the Hilliard Gallery in Kansas City, MO, and Denice and I dropped it off on Monday, March 28, 2022 for the run of the exhibition. 


Thursday, March 10, 2022

The Things You Made, Discarded, Are Now Art


It is rare that I make art for a specific reason other than the art workshops I take from various teachers. However, in cruising through some upcoming art exhibitions that were putting out a call for artist, I came across this: "Vestige Gallery Pittsburgh (PA), the creators of “Post-Rustbelt: Living Between America”, comes “Rustbelt: REDUX“. This exhibition seeks to showcase works of art that capture the “Post-Rustbelt, Middle America” experience of life during the decades following the decline of industry (mid 1970’s) to beyond the turn of the millennium. Only this year… we are looking for more grit, more apocalyptic, more “street”, more deconstruction, more political, and yes–more rust…!"


So I decided to make a piece for this exhibition. As soon as I started it, I thought the time period they were looking for reflected how I use vintage parts to make art today.  This is another variation in the way I normally work: usually the theme comes much later in the it was available before I even started. 

I saved this interesting packing material from something we bought and I decided to use it as the frame for this piece. 

The next step is to audition stuff from my stash to see what might make a cool structure. Here are the results. 

Liquitex has a new color called Fluorescent Orange and I was happy to try it out on a piece with rust as the theme.

The first attached object was this vintage tool carrier.

Now it is time to get some serious layering going on.

This is a photograph by Lewis Hine, taken in 1931 in New York City, called Three Men Securing a Rivet from the New York Public Library's Digital Collection. I decided to add it (borrow, steal) to this piece to represent the people who made the stuff I use in assemblage. 

Thus we have The Things You Made, Discarded, Are Now Art. 

It consists of the Lewis Hine Photograph, Three Workers Securing a Rivet (1931), Cradled Board 24"H X 16"W, Metal Screens (2), Cardboard Packing, Lamp Base, Saw Handle, Mask, Popcorn Popper Top, Stove Burner, Tool Carrier with Tools and Clock Parts (3).  It is 24"H X 16"W X 9"D.

P.S.: "The Things You Made, Discarded, Are Now Art" was been accepted into the Vestige Concept Gallery (Pittsburg, PA) show "Rustbelt: REDUX" which will run from March 26th to April 24th, 2022.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

That Familiar One, Beloved Death, My Enemy Who Erases Sorrows Like A Friend

Here I go again with another online workshop with Michael deMeng called Zoo-Illogicals. The basic idea here is to combine a human form with an animal to create some new creature through assemblage vivisection. 

First, the gathering of the stuff. I started this project with a handmade wood wheelbarrow I bought in an antique store. I decided my hybrid was going to be a very cheap plastic Academy Award Oscar and a plastic lion.

One of the early decisions was how to create a stage for my character. I decided that I was going to paint a landscape for my lion-man to stand in.

In building my lion-man, I added some animal scapula that I had in my stash. I dressed him up in some collage clothes that are trying to look African. A last minute decision was to cut his head open and add a crown, something I debated as a cliche but went with it anyway.

Sometimes when I am building an assemblage, if I stare at it long enough, it becomes something I cannot live with. So, the African plain became a cave instead, made out of Great Stuff. 

After some painting and some detailing, it was done. 

Thus we have That Familiar One, Beloved Death, My Enemy Who Erases Sorrows Like A Friend. It is made up of a Handmade Wheelbarrow, an Oscar Statute, Toy Lion Head, Nails (10), Wood Trim (3), Checkers (6), Animal Scapula (2), Beads, Clock Part, Paper, Foam, Paint and a Wood Block. It is 26"H X 12"W X 12"D. 

The title is from Two Elegies, 1: Appointments in The Rebel’s Silhouette: Selected Poems By Faiz Ahmed Faiz.