As good a time as any I suppose... To once again take a look back and pull those old thoughts out of the attic and revisit unfinished business.
It was almost a year ago that I had some old mixed media paintings on paper hanging in my Middletown studio. I found them while looking for something else in my home studio. They were the last pieces I painted before embarking on an olfactory adventure that pulled me into another world. Now I am teetering back and forth between these two worlds, spending about as much time with one as the other. It's a good fit for now, and then there is this unfinished business.
These paper pieces were done from late 2001 to spring of 2002. They were my last work after 9/11. My last show was in October of 2001 and as the entire country was in shock I, as an artist was trying to wrap my brain around it by pouring my feelings into the work. At the time 9/11 art was popping up everywhere and it seemed odd to me at the time how quickly galleries and art centers jumped on the bandwagon to exhibit this art and in many ways exploit a tragedy for financial gain and attention.
I never showed this work at the time or had it for sale, I was just working through my feelings and after I completed the last pieces, I tucked them away where they stayed for twelve years. It was a time where I felt like exploring some of the other things that I loved so I spent more time on my music and writing and I launched a small collection of natural perfumes that to my surprise became a huge success.
In the past two months I have had these paintings on paper out in my Cincinnati studio, Out where I can see them everyday and remember how much I love doing this work. Seeing them also brought into contrast the new work that I had been creating. Somewhat angry by comparison with all of the scraping and sharp lines, defiant slashes of color. If I were to analyze myself and this work I would have to wonder what all of the angst is about. Maybe I am angry at myself for not painting all those years, or maybe I am still working things through. The thing is, I like both for different reasons, and at the same time I do feel a bit exhausted and want to incorporate more of the past into the future works.
At the end of the year I was all set to get back into the studio and take the work to that new place, but just as we were saying goodbye to 2014 we were ringing in 2015 in bed, hit by the flu bug. I am the one who rarely gets a cold or flu, so it drives me nuts when I am unable to function. This past Thursday January 15th was my first day driving into the city to my studio. Mr Z. took me down last Sunday, but it was too soon and I was back in bed for another two days. All of my big plans and ideas had to be put on hold while I recovered, and... while I ran it all over and over in my head.
Now I look at the work in the studio with new eyes. My intention is the same but my feelings about this new year have changed. I am thinking about my health and my family and how quickly things can go wrong. A recent death of an acquaintance who was my age, and the recent loss of close family have put me on a path of greater awareness. I am feeling more grateful for the things I have, my health and those close to me. There is a quote by the writer Claudia Black: "Surround yourself with people who respect and treat you well" This has always resonated with me, so much that I still have it tacked to the wall in my old home studio. The paper yellow with age, but still relevant. In the coming months I wish to honor this quote, and put the important things on the front burner and toss out anything that doesn't live up to that standard. I also feel that it is important to do the same with my work, all of it.
Wish me luck, the month is only half over and I am already working on Plan B....