Wednesday, October 31, 2012

new energy

Something new is percolating up through our work.  For ages, we've been working from vintage photos. This body of work began around 1996 with a few paintings I made of my great-grandparents.  One of the first was of my great-great-grandfather Alfonso and his wife Madora.  The style was nearly unrecognizable from where we are today...heavy paint, plenty face, and details of the photo's frame included in the painting.  The reference image was probably from the early 1900's.  I liked the contrast of the contemporary style with the traditional imagery and began to mine that vein deeper and deeper.

Early pieces in this series came from late 1800's-early 1900's photographs.  Genna joined me in the work around 2000 and the vintage of the reference imagery we were drawn to began to move very slowly forward.  Working with turn of the century photos, the characters tended to be static, standing tall and creating almost a grid between the figures, the horizon, and the other objects in the scene (architecture, autos, etc). 

These are as early as I can get without going back through slides.  Top image is a 24" square, maybe around 2003, the bottom one is a 4' square circa 2001.

During the first decade of our colaboration, we proceeded slowly through the first half of the twentieth century. In the last few years, the work has reached into the sixties with brief forrays into the seventies.  I even caught myself looking hard at an eighties snapshot the other day (God forbid).

As film became more advanced and cheaper, the characters in these reference images become more and more animated.  Family photos morphed from staid portraits to on-the-fly snapshots.  My skill set as a painter has shifted incrementally hand in hand with our slow trek into this more active imagery.

So, after ten years of painting upright citizens, I'm suddenly (or maybe not at all suddenly) finding myself drawn more and more to photos of movement.  Recently came this:

Which even though it was a 1930's image I wouldn't have considered a few years ago.  I must have enjoyed it as plenty more moving and shaking is in works.  We've just scheduled a solo show with Teresa Roche at Art & Light for January 2013...all dancers!

Work on this sub-series of images will begin just after this weekend's Open Studio event.  I can't wait!  If you're in the upstate area, join us at the gallery Friday 6-9, Saturday 10-6, or Sunday 12-6.  Grushovenko Gallery, 1203 Pendleton Street, Greenville SC 29611.  Hope to see you there!